AN/TWQ-1 Avenger: Wikis


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Avenger air defense missile system.

The Avenger Air Defense System, designated AN/TWQ-1 under the Joint Electronics Type Designation System, provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters.[1] The Avenger was originally developed for the United States military and is currently used by the Army. Until recently, the system was also used by the Marine Corps.[2]



Originally developed as a private venture by Boeing in the 1980s, the Avenger was developed over a period of only 10 months from initial concept to delivery for testing to the US Army. Initial testing was conducted in May of 1984 at the Army's Yakima Training Center in Washington. During testing three FIM-92 Stinger missiles were fired. During the first test firing the system achieved a direct hit while moving at 20 mph (30 km/h). The second test firing, conducted at night while stationary, also achieved a direct hit. The third test firing, conducted while on the move and in the rain, did not achieve a direct hit, however, it did pass within the missile's kill range and the shot was scored as a tactical kill. All three test shots were conducted by operators who had never fired the missile before.[1]

In 1987, the Army awarded the first production contract for 325 units.[3] In 1989, the system began its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) series of tests. The tests were conducted in two stages with Stage 1 consisting of acquisition and tracking trials at Fort Hunter Liggett, California and Stage 2 consisting of live-fire testing at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. In February 1990, the Avenger system was deemed operationally effective and began replacing the M163 and M167 VADS.[4].

The first operational deployment of the system occurred during the buildup for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. With the success of this deployment, the Army signed an additional contract for another 679 vehicles, bringing the total order to 1,004 units. The Avenger was again successfully deployed in support of NATO operations during the Bosnian War.[3] The Avenger system received widespread public exposure when it was placed around the Pentagon during the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.[5] The Avenger has also been deployed during the US Military's operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.[3]


A Stinger missile being launched from the Avenger platform.

The Avenger comes mainly in three types of configurations, the Basic, Slew-to-Cue, and the Up-Gun. The Basic configuration consists of a gyro-stabilized air defense turret mounted on a modified heavy High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The turret has two Stinger missile launcher pods, each capable of firing up to 4 fire-and-forget infrared/ultraviolet guided missiles in rapid succession.[1] The Avenger can be linked to the Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (FAAD C3I) system, which permits external radar tracks and messages to be passed to the fire unit to alert and cue the gunner.[4]

The Slew-to-Cue (STC) subsystem, allows the commander or gunner to select a FAAD C3I reported target for engagement from a display on a Targeting Console developed from VT Miltope's Pony PCU.[6] Once the target has been selected, the turret can be automatically slewed directly to the target with limited interaction by the gunner.[4]

The Up-Gun Avenger was developed specifically for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for the Regiment's 2005 deployment to Iraq. The modification was designed to allow the Avenger to perform unit and asset defense on top of its air defense mission. The right missile pod was removed and the M3P .50 cal machine gun was moved to the pod’s former position. This allowed for the removal of the turret's cab safety limits which enabled the gun to be fired directly in front of the HMMWV.[7] Eight of the unit's Avengers were modified to this configuration.[3] With the 3rd ACR's redeployment from Iraq, the Up-Gun Avenger completed its role in OIF and the Avengers have been scheduled to be converted back to STC systems.

The M1097, M1097A1, and M1097A2 and M1123 HMMWVs are specifically designed to accommodate a higher payload capacity. The HMMWVs are equipped with a reinforced frame, crossmembers, lifting shackles, heavy duty rear springs, shock absorbers, reinforced control arms, heavy duty tires and rims, and a transfer case and differential with modified gear ratio. The M1097A2 models have new bumpers, which make the vehicles slightly longer. A 9,000 lb winch is also available for the M1097A2 models as an option.


Due to the lack of airborne threat in Iraq, and the pressing need for ground assets for combat roles such as convoy protection, the Avenger has been pressed into this role.[8] The FLIR/laser rangefinder combined with the .50 cal machine gun has proven very effective, but is limited by no-fire zones, particularly to the front of the vehicle.[9] A program was instituted to remove one of the missile pods and move the machine gun to that position to enable a 360° field of fire.[10] This upgrade also increased the ammunition capacity to 650 rounds.

Another potential variant proposed by Boeing is an Avenger with a Directed Energy Weapon (DEW). Boeing has complete initial test of a 1 kilowatt laser mounted where the right missile pod would be[11]. The M3P .50 cal has been replaced by the M242 Bushmaster as its close defense weapon.

A possible future variant allows for a 600 round ammunition can, only one Stinger missile pod (4 missiles), and 2 FGM-148 Javelin missiles. This variant is largely hoped for by the soldiers, but due to the re-organisation of the U.S. Army air-defense structure into combined air and missile defense, it is somewhat unlikely this variant will make it into large scale production.[12]



  • Length - 16 ft 3 in (4.95 m)
  • Weight - 8,600 lb (4300 kg)
  • Crew - 2 (Basic), 3 (STC)
  • Road speed - 55 mph (89 km/h)
  • Range - 275 miles (443 km)
  • Primary weapon - 4/8 FIM-92 Stinger missiles
  • Secondary weapon - .50 M3P machine gun
  • Engine power output - 150 hp (112 kW)



  • 4/8 ready-to-fire FIM-92 Stinger missiles
  • 1 M3P machine gun, which is a variant of the M2 developed for aviation use during World War II. It is a .50 caliber machine gun with an electronic trigger that can be fired from both the remote control unit (RCU) located in the drivers cab, and from the handstation located in the Avenger turret. It has a 950 to 1200 rounds per minute firing rate. Loads 1 box of 200–250 rounds at a time.

Operating forces

See also

Comparable systems


  1. ^ a b c Avenger AN/TWQ-1 (United States) - Jane's Land Based Air Defense [1]
  2. ^ - Details of Avenger use by the USMC [2]
  3. ^ a b c d Avenger Low Level Air Defense System, USA - Army Technology [3]
  4. ^ a b c Avenger (Pedestal Mounted Stinger) - [4]
  5. ^ Stinger Missile In Nation's Capital - Life [5]
  6. ^ Pony PCU (United States) - Janes C4I Systems [6]
  7. ^ Boeing Frontiers Online - Boeing team gives troops in Middle East extra firepower [7]
  8. ^ Air Defense Artillery April-June 2005
  10. ^ Giving Troops Extra Firepower - Boeing
  11. ^ Javelin Avenger Variant Testing Details - Defense Update

External links

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