9K333 Verba (Willow) MANPADS

While the Indian Army is in the process of procuring Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) from Russia through a set of new financial powers for emergency procurements sanctioned by the (Indian) Defence Ministry, the successor to Igla-S is already in operational service with Russian Airborne and Motorized Rifle Divisions as also with Armenia and Syria.

Verba (Russian for Willow) is claimed to have the largest target detection range and far exceeds the Igla-S in terms of the tactical and technical characteristics.

The most critical improvement is the use of a three-spectral homing head (Igla-S has two-spectral homing head). It uses three sensors – ultraviolet, near infrared, and mid-infrared and cross-checking sensors against one another ensures better discrimination between relevant targets and decoys, and decreases the chance of disruption from countermeasures.

The sensitivity of the homing head had reportedly been increased ‘many times’and with  its increased noise immunity, the zone of target destruction is claimed to have been significantly expanded as compared to Igla-S.A 1.5kg Mowgli-2M infrared (IR) imaging sight 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. It can hit targets at ranges from 0.5 to 6.5 km at an altitude from 10 meters up to 4.5 kilometres. With the missile velocity of 500 meters per second, Verba  can hit approaching targets travelling at a speed of 400 meters per second and up to a  speed of 320 meters per second when engaging receding targets. A high-explosive (HE) fragmentation warhead, weighing 1.5 kg (3.30 lb.) provides the missile with increased probability of kill.

The  three-channel optical seeker uses the three (ultraviolet, near-infrared, and mid-infrared wavelengths) inputs to constantly cross-check against one another to increase target discrimination and decreases the chance of disruption from infrared countermeasures, including high-power flares and lasers

Bedsides its effectiveness against fixed and rotary wing aircraft, it claims to have 

high probability of hitting low-emitting targets: cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles. 

The missile complex includes the  9M336 missile, 9P521 trigger, ground-based interrogator  1L229V IFF system, 9B861 mobile control point, 1L122 small-sized radar detector, 9S932-1 planning and control module, 9C932-1 portable fire control module (in the brigade kit) and built-in mounting kit 9С933-1 (in the division kit).

To have easier maintenance and testing procedures, there is no need to conduct periodic checks of the homing head thereby doing away with additional equipment.

The Russian field formations started receiving the Verba in 2014-15 and is now in service with Syria and Armenia also.

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