Verba MANPADS: Incredible Weapon Only Russia Has

Traditionally Russia is ranked among world's leading manufacturers of air defense weapons. Here is another proof of this fact.

The 9K333 Verba is Russia’s newest man-portable, shoulder-fired air defense missile system designed to detect and destroy unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and other low-flying air targets.

It is an incredibly lightweight, mobile, and user-friendly tool for shooting planes out of the sky capable of operating independently or as part of a battery receiving data from various sources.

At present, Verba is entering into service with the Russian Army (since 2015). A full-scale mock-up of the Verba missile system was exhibited at the Army-2015 International Military-Technical Forum held in the Moscow region, Russia. Its first appearance internationally took place at the DefExpo-2016, India, this March.

The Verba air-defense system comprises combat equipment such as 9M336 missile, 9V861 mobile checkpoint, 1L229V ground-based interrogator (friend-or-foe), 1L122 compact radar detector, 9S935 gunner's automation kit, 9S933 portable fire-control unit, 9S933-1 built-in mounting kit, 9P521 launcher, 9S931 planning module, 9S932-1 intelligence and control module, and maintenance and training aids. A 1.5kg Mowgli-2M infrared (IR) imaging sight is attached on the left side of the launch tube. With an angular field of view of 24°, it detects air targets during low light or night conditions.

The missile launcher is coupled to an Andromeda-D automated control system (ACS), which is used for the control of air defence system using the data received from ground radars and early radar warning aircraft. The control system transmits target designations to launchers in real time. It allows the operators to detect single or multiple aerial targets, acquire target information in advance, determine flight parameters and coordinates, and distribute data among air defence system weapon operators.

The 9M336 missile can hit targets at ranges from 0.5 to 6.5 km (21 300 feet) at an altitude from 10 meters (33 feet) up to 4.5 kilometers (14700 feet). The missile velocity in flight is 500 meters (1640 feet) per second. It can hit approaching targets travelling at a speed of 400 meters (1300 feet) per second. It can also hit targets flying at a speed of 320 meters (1050 feet) per second when shooting in pursuit. The missile is capable of engaging 8 maneuvering targets simultaneously. It can be deployed in both day and night, under different weather conditions. A high-explosive (HE) fragmentation warhead, weighing 1.5 kg (3.30 lb.) provides the missile with increased probability of kill.

Verba’s reaction time is 8 seconds. Full ready-to-shoot weight (including launching unit, SAM and battery) is 17.25 kg (38 pounds). The MANPADS boasts enhanced capability of engaging small-size targets with low thermal signatures such as cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Compared with its predecessor the Igla-S system, the engagement envelope has been extended by a factor of 2.5, and protection from high-power flares improved by a factor of 10.

The improvements optimize the use of the missile's energy consumption with lower quantities of missiles now required to defeat an aerial target and deliver a general increase in performance by a factor of 1.5 to 2.

Missiles are guided to their targets using a three-channel optical seeker, which operates in the ultraviolet, near-infrared, and mid-infrared wavelengths. This is a feature that increases the weapon's accuracy and speeds up its target acquisition. The targeting system is specially built to fool its targets' anti-missile systems. The warhead contains three infrared sensors that are constantly cross-checking against one another to make it even harder for a target aircraft to disrupt the system using decoys. The missile's seeker also allows projectiles to better distinguish between aircraft and heat pockets that might throw off a less advanced weapon's targeting system. The unique decreases the chance of disruption from infrared countermeasures, including high-power flares and lasers.

The Verba MANPADS can be also mounted on various land, maritime and airborne platforms. Joint employment of the 9M336 missiles of the Verba MANPADS, combat control set of equipment and launch modules makes it possible to build on their basis lightweight mobile close-in air defense missile systems, or to include these assets into existing air defence missile and artillery systems.

«We are confident that Verba will provoke interest of Indian militaries and our partners in South East Asia and other regions», said Sergei Goreslavsky, deputy director general of JSC Rosoboronexport.

Russian experts believe, Algiers and Egypt are on the list of potential buyers.

The Igla-S has been exported to more than 30 countries. 

No doubt, Verba is the best weapon system in its class among offered today in the international arms market, judging by the combination of its tactical and technical characteristics and realization of unique technical solutions, especially the integration of a new multispectral optical seeker as opposed to the dual-waveband infrared used in other MANPADS. It guarantees Russia’s leading edge in portable air defense systems.