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Infantry Antiaircraft Missiles

...Weapons Series 85, from Osprey Publishing

Title: Infantry Antiaircraft Missiles
Author: Steven J Zaloga
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4728-5343-1

Subtitled as Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, this new book from Osprey and popular author Steve Zaloga, this is number 85 in their Weapons series. An 80-page soft-cover book in standard Osprey format.
The idea of a Man-Portable anti aircraft system was only just started at the end of WW2, with the German Fleigerfaust, which launched 6 x 20mm unguided rockets, though there is no record of it actually being used in combat. So this is largely a post-war story, as the technology enabled the development of guided missiles that were small/light enough to be man portable. There are essentially just 2 main elements to the book, with the development of the various types of MANPAD made in different countries around the world. From the earliest Redeye missile in the US to the more well known Stinger, as well as others made in Russia and China of course, but also the UK, France, Sweden, Japan, Korea and more. The second part of the book looks at their actual use on combat, from Vietnam to various wars/civil wars in the years since. Sadly these do include some attacks on civilian airliners. There are agreements in place to limit the supply of these missiles to try and prevent them from getting into the hands of terrorist groups. It also details the changes they have influenced in military aircraft and helicopters to counter them. These include the use of flares to distract those with infra-red seeker heads, along with heat diffusers added to the exhausts of helicopters to reduce their infra-red signature. A Conclusion then rounds things off.
A really interesting read, with detail I had not been aware of before. As you might expect in an Osprey book, there are plenty of high quality photos of the various missile types, along with archive photos of them in use and the ever excellent artwork, which does include cut-away views of some. Another good addition to the series from an acknowledged expert.
Thanks to Osprey for the review copy.

Robin

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