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Air defense / MANPADS / FIM-43 Redeye

FIM-43 Redeye

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Man portable SAM system

    United States

    Hamlet (Danish service)
    RBS-69 (Swedish service)

    1959 - 1966


    1968 - 1969

    United States - General Dynamics

    85.000 missiles produced


    More capable than low level anti-aircraft guns
    Limited size and weight
    Infrared seeker easily fooled by flares
    Limited lethality warhead
    No all aspect target engagement


The FIM-43 Redeye is a Cold War era man portable SAM system of US origin. It was developed in the 1960's as machine guns proved of limited effectiveness against jet fighters. The Redeye was the first US man portable SAM system.


The Redeye uses a conventional design. The infrared missile has the seeker and warhead in the nose and the rocket engine and booster at the rear. Four foling wings near the nozzle provide stabilization. The gripstock launcher features a launch tube, sight unit, replaceable battery pack and trigger unit.


The Redeye uses a supersonic missile travelling at Mach 1.7. The maximum range is 4.5 km under optimal conditions. The infrared seeker is easily fooled by flares and only allows receding fighter aircraft to be engaged. The limited size warhead uses an impact fuze. The kill probability is estimated at 0.4 versus a MiG-21 figher jet and An-12 transport plane and 0.5 versus helicopters.


The Redeye is a very mobile system as the missile and its gripstock launcher are man portable, even over longer ranges. The system is operated by a single person.


The Redeye was widely used by US forces until supplemented and replaced by the much more capable Stinger. The Redeye was exported to numerous nations with good ties to the USA. These are mainly located in Europe and South America. In most nations the Redeye has been replaced and its use is very limited nowadays.


FIM-43 Redeye

The FIM-43 Redeye system consist of the M171 grip stock launcher and FIM-43C missile. A FIM-43D missile with unknown improvements is also said to exist. The FIM-43A and B missile were only used during development. The FIM-43 is easily identified by its grip stock launcher. It has a very lean design and the battery is mounted vertically near the pistol grip.

TypeSurface to air missile
Diameter70 mm body, 0.14 m wingspan
Length1.283 m
Weight8.2 kg
GuidanceSingle channel passive infra-red homing seeker, gas cooled
WarheadHE-Frag, 2 kg with 0.36 kg HTA-3, contact fuze
PropulsionSingle-stage solid propellant dual-thrust ejector and sustainer motor
Speed580 m/s maximum
Range0.5 to 5.5 km
Altitude50 m to 2.7 km
Engagement envelope?
RemarksEmpty launcher weighs 4.4 kg


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