The Avenger Air Defense System, designated AN/TWQ-1 under the Joint Electronics Type Designation System, is an American self-propelled surface-to-air missile system which provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles,unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters.
The Avenger was originally developed for the United States Armed Forces and is currently used by the U.S. Army. The Avenger system was also used by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Boeing teamed with Shorts Brothers PLC to offer the Avenger system modified by replacing 1 Stinger pod with a pod of 4 Shorts Starstreak Hyper-velocity laser-guided missiles in the hopes of attracting a U.S. Army contract under the Forward Area Air Defense System Line-of-Sight Rear (FAADS-LOS-R) program. Test installation was carried out in mid-1990 and firing trials followed from mid-1991 in the U.K. Starstreak would complement the Stinger by improving the overall systems ability to deal with low hovering helicopters which frequently do not provide enough contrast for lock-on by infrared guided missiles. Starstreak also has the ability to be used against un-armored and lightly armored ground vehicles.
In the 1990s Boeing teamed with Matra of France to offer the Avenger modified by the substitution of standard triple launcher boxes for Matra Mistral missiles in place of the quadruple Stinger pods of the standard Avenger. One demonstrator vehicle was built in 1992 and test firings took place in France. The project was dropped around 1997.
Due to the lack of serious airborne threats during much of the Iraq War, along with the pressing need for ground assets for combat roles such as convoy protection, the Avenger has been pressed into this role. The FLIR/laser rangefinder combined with the .50 cal machine gun has proven very effective, but is limited by no-fire zones, particularly to the front of the vehicle. A program was instituted to remove one of the missile pods and move the machine gun to that position to enable a 360° field of fire. This upgrade also increased the ammunition capacity to 650 rounds.
Another potential variant proposed by Boeing is an Avenger with a Directed Energy Weapon (DEW). Boeing completed an initial test of a 1 kilowatt laser mounted where the right missile pod would be. The M3P .50 cal has been replaced by the M242 Bushmaster as its close defense weapon.
Test firing demonstrations took place in 2004 of this variant modified by re-locating the M3P machine gun over the turret cab to allow a 360-degree field of fire, increasing ready-use machine gun ammunition stowage to 600 rounds, and providing the option to substitute launchers for 2 FGM-148 Javelin missiles in place of 1 Stinger pod.
Boeing have proposed that the Avenger PMS turret could be mounted on other vehicles such as Unimog truck, BV-206 all-terrain vehicles, M113 APC, and M548 tracked cargo carrier as well as being used as a stationary ground mount on a pallet for defense of static targets. The Avenger PMS has been demonstrated with a mock-up of two 70 mm helicopter-type rocket pods carrying a total of 36 rockets to give the system greater multi-mission utility. Other missiles such as the Bofors RBS 70/Bolide have been proposed for use on the Avenger PMS.
|Weight||8,600 lb (3900 kg)|
|Length||16 ft 3 in (4.95 m)|
|Width||7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)|
|Height||8 ft 8 in (2.64 m)|
|Crew||2 (Basic), 3 (STC)|
|4/8 FIM-92 Stinger missiles|
|.50 M3P machine gun|
|Engine||Detroit Diesel cooled V-8
135 hp (101 kW)
|275 miles (443 km)|
|Speed||55 mph (89 km/h)|
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