WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — To shore up short range air-defenses in Europe the US Army wants to purchase Stinger man portable air defense systems and deploy them in teams to support maneuver units, Murray said on Thursday.
"We are bringing Stingers back into the inventory and will put Stingers into maneuver formations for short range air defense," Murray said. "We are adding a new proximity fuze [detonator] to the Stinger.
The Stinger is a shoulder-fired heat seeking missile designed to defeat low flying attack and transport aircraft. It was an air-defense weapon of choice for Afghanistan Mujahideen fighting against the Soviet military.
NATO has been increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea since the outbreak of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine in April 2014, in response to what it considers to be Russia's aggressive foreign policy. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed the Ukraine-related accusations leveled at it, warning that increased NATO activities near the country's borders could undermine regional and global stability.
Moscow has repeatedly criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for stirring up regional tensions by deploying its military close to Russian borders.