The General Dynamics Redeye was a man-portable surface-to-air missile system. It used passive infrared homing to track its target. Production began in 1962 and it later became the FIM-92 Stinger.
The missile is fired from the M171 missile launcher. First, the seeker is cooled to operating temperature and then the operator begins to visually track the target using the sight unit on the launcher. Once the target is locked onto by the missile, a buzzer in the launcher hand grip begins vibrating, alerting the operator. The operator then presses the trigger, which fires the initial booster stage and launches the missile out of the tube at a speed of around 80 feet per second (25 m/s). As the missile leaves the tube, spring-loaded fins pop out — four stabilising tail fins at the back of the missile, and two control surfaces at the front of the missile. Once the missile has travelled six meters, the sustainer motor ignites. The sustainer motor takes the missile to its peak velocity of Mach 1.7 in 5.8 seconds. 1.25 seconds after the sustainer is ignited, the warhead is armed.
The missile’s seeker is only capable of tracking the hot exhaust of aircraft, which limits the engagements to tail-chase only. The missile’s blast fragmentation warhead is triggered by an impact fuze, requiring a direct hit. As a first-generation missile it is susceptible to countermeasures, including flares and hot brick jammers. Its inability to turn at a rate greater than 3 G means that it can be out-manoeuvred, if detected.
Caption: Gunner D M Spain live firing red eye missile. Port Wakefield 1973.