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Man-portable air defense missile system

Verba missile

The Verba is a formidable air defense weapon system

Country of origin Russia
Entered service 2014
Missile length 1.64 m
Missile diameter ~ 0.07 m
Fin span ?
Missile weight 11 - 12 kg
Weight with launcher ~ 18 kg
Warhead weight 1.5 kg
Warhead type High explosive blast fragmentation
Range of fire 6 km
Altitude of fire 4.5 km
Guidance Multispectral optical seeker (UV, near-IR, mid-IR)


   The 9K333 Verba Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) was developed by the Russian Konstruktorskoye Byuro Mashinostroyenia (KBM). It was unveiled in 2015. It was developed as a replacement for the 9K38 Igla system, which is currently used by Russian forces. Igla system is being used by many countries worldwide.

   The new Verba system uses a surface-to-air missile to engage air targets. It was approved for production in 2011 and adopted by the Russian Armed Forces in 2014. It is also being proposed for export customers.

  Verba's kill range is similar to the Igla-S (6 Km) and operating altitude is about 4.5 Km. But the engagement envelope has been extended by a factor of 2.5 besides improved protection from countermeasures. General performance factor has been increased by 1.5 to 2.

   The main improvement of the Verba over Igla-S is a three-channel optical seeker. The Verba features a multispectral optical seeker, developed by LOMO St. Petersburg. This three-channel seeker constitutes ultraviolet, near infrared and mid-infrared sensors. Sensor inputs are cross checked to determine the targets against decoys thereby improving accuracy and avoids countermeasures deployed by targets. The seeker has the capability to trace the heat build up in wings and fuselage due to air resistance, apart from the conventional engine heat tracing methods. This enables a head-on approach of target engagement.

   Warhead size is about 1.5 kg and has been developed by RFNS VNIIEF facility in Sarov.

   The Verba MANPADS constitutes a 9P521 launcher, Maugli-2M infrared imaging sight (by LOMO) and a ground based identification friend-or-foe interrogator.

   The new MANPADS also includes integrated automated control system. This enables data usage from both ground and early radar warning aircraft. Thus targets can be traced in advance and passed to MANPAD operators for engagement. Conventional MANPADS work by firing after target passes thereby relying on a pursuit based approach. The early warning systems integrated into Verba MANPADS enables an early engagement of aircraft. This improves strike chances and the head-on approach avoids the rear flare decoys used by most aircrafts today. The Verba MANPADS outweighs every other MANPADS developed so far, globally. Its accuracy, operating parameters and seeker capability makes it a formidable air defense weapon system.


Rakesh Nair

   Article by RAKESH NAIR

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Verba missile

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Verba missile

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