Verba 9K333 Man-Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS), Russia

Verba 9K333

Verba 9K333 (Willow), a new generation man-portable air defence missile system (MANPADS), entered service with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 2014. It is developed by Joint Stock Company Research and Production Corporation Konstruktorskoye byuro mashynostroyeniya (JSC RPC KBM).

The Verba MANPADS is designed to detect and destroy unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and other low-flying air targets. It is capable of operating independently or as part of a battery and can engage targets in the presence of thermal noise.

A full-scale mock-up of the Verba missile system was exhibited at the Army-2015 International Military-Technical Forum held in the Moscow region, Russia.

KBM signed a long-term contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation for the supply of Verba MANPADS, and the full-scale production is currently underway.

Orders and deliveries of Verba air defence system

State tests of the Verba MANPADS were completed in 2011. In August 2014, two brigade sets were delivered to the Motorised Rifle Brigade of the Eastern Military District located in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, and two divisional sets to the Russian Airborne Troops (VDV) stationed in Ivanovo.

The Motorised Brigade of the Western Military District (ZVO) in the Leningrad region commissioned more than 50 Verba air defence missile systems in November 2015. The missile systems are also operational with the VDV troops in Pskov and Tula.

The new Verba is intended to replace its predecessor 9K38 Igla-S MANPADS, which are currently in service with the Russian Army.

Verba MANPADS features

The Verba air-defence missile complex comprises combat equipment such as 9M336 missile, 9V861 mobile checkpoint, 1L229V ground-based interrogator (friend-or-foe), 1L122 compact radar detector, 9S935 gunner's automation kit, 9S933 portable fire-control unit (for brigade), 9S933-1 built-in mounting kit (for division), 9P521 launcher, 9S931 planning module, 9S932-1 intelligence and control module, and maintenance and training aids.

A 1.5kg Mowgli-2M infrared (IR) imaging sight, developed by LOMO, is attached on the left side of the launch tube. With an angular field of view of 24°, it detects air targets during low light or night conditions.

Command and control system

The missile launcher is coupled to an Andromeda-D automated control system (ACS), which is used for the control of air defence system using the data received from ground radars and early radar warning aircraft.

"The Verba MANPADS is designed to detect and destroy unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and other low-flying air targets."

The control system transmits target designations to launchers in real time. It allows the operators to detect single or multiple aerial targets, acquire target information in advance, determine flight parameters and coordinates, and distribute data among air defence system weapon operators.

Missile guidance and warhead

The 9M336 missile incorporates a new guidance and control section. A tri-colour, multi-spectral optical heat-seeker enables the missile to detect and engage targets with low radar signature in three spectral regions: ultraviolet, near infrared and mid-infrared sensors.

A high-explosive (HE) fragmentation warhead, weighing 1.5kg, provides the missile with increased probability of kill.

9M336 missile performance

The 9M336 missile has the capability to destroy targets flying at a speed of 500m/s at altitudes between 10m and 4.5km. It can engage targets in ranges of 500m to 6,500m and its reaction time is eight seconds. It can be deployed in both day and night, under different weather conditions.

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