The self-contained Stinger missile is made in shoulder-launched, vehicle mounted or helicopter air-to-air variants.

Raytheon Missile Systems

Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems has updated a combat-proven air-defense missile to make it a better weapon against unmanned aircraft, as part of an Army effort to improve defenses against drones.

During a recent Army test, a pair of Raytheon’s Stinger anti-air missiles equipped with new “proximity” fuzes intercepted two small unmanned aircraft — an MQM-170C Outlaw test drone and an unidentified smaller system — for the first time, Raytheon said.

Stingers are usually loaded with direct-impact warheads for use against targets like cruise missiles and aircraft, Raytheon said. Proximity fuzes allow missiles to destroy targets either by making contact or by detonating at close range, increasing the chance of success.

Produced in man-portable, vehicle-mounted and helicopter air-to-air versions, the self-contained Stinger has been continually upgraded since entering service in 1981. It has been used in four major conflicts and is now deployed in more than 18 nations and with all four U.S. military services.