During the 1960s the Marine Corps introduced its first lightweight shoulder fired surface-to-air missile, the Redeye. During June 1966 the Redeye school was activated at Marine Corps Base, 29 Palms California. By Sept. 1966, a Redeye platoon was placed in each stateside Marine division. This gave Marine commanders a viable air-defense capability that could be deployed to any area of the battlefield.
The Redeye missile served throughout the 1970s before giving way to the more technologically advanced Stinger missile in 1982. The Stingers "all aspect" engagement capability was a major improvement over the Redeye. In 1989 an improved Stinger, equipped with a reprogrammable microprocessor (RPM), was fielded by the Marine Corps. The RPM is a modular enhancement which allows the Stinger to engage and destroy more sophisticated air threats.
The Stinger is a man-portable, shoulder-fired guided missile system which enables the Marine to effectively engage low-altitude jet, propeller-driven and helicopter aircraft. Developed by the United States Army Missile Command, the Stinger was the successor to the Redeye Weapon System. The system is a ""fire-and-forget"" weapon employing a passive infrared seeker and proportional navigation system. Stinger also is designed for the threat beyond the 1990s, with an all-aspect engagement capability, and IFF (Identification-Friend-or-Foe), improved range and maneuverability, and significant countermeasures immunity. The missile, packaged within its disposable launch tube, is delivered as a certified round, requiring no field testing or direct support maintenance. A separable, reusable gripstock is attached to the round prior to use and may be used again.
The Stinger has also been employed by the Pedestal-Mounted Stinger Air Defense Vehicle and the Light Armored Vehicle, Air Defense Variant (LAV-AD) during the 1990s.