KBM says Verba MANPADS now being sold internationally

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Nikolai Novichkov, Paris and Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
18 June 2015


Russia's latest MANPADS is now available for export. Source: Nikolai Novichkov

Russian defence company KBM officially unveiled its new-generation 9K333 Verba (Willow) manportable air defence system (MANPADS) during the Army-2015 international forum and declared for the first time that it has been cleared for export sales.

"The export of Verbas is permitted and we have been asked to supply the MANPADS [to a foreign customer],"KBM designer general Valeriy Kashin said during the event. However, he did not identify the customer.

The system is already in serial production for the Russian Armed Forces, with several ground forces and airborne brigades receiving Verbas since 2014, Kashin said.

The system's 9M336 missiles is the only one of its kind with a three-channel optical seeker, which operates in the ultraviolet, near-infrared, and mid-infrared wavelengths. Kashin said this "makes the MANPADS a more accurate and sensitive weapon. The enhanced sensitivity increases the range of practical target acquisition".

Comparing it to other MANPADS, Kashin said it is the most capable ever developed. "Verba has a fire range of 6 km and the range of target acquisition is increased by two-and-a-half times. [It's] jamming resistance against flares is increased by 10 times," he said.

He described the system as "fully digital" and said that, while it can be used autonomously, it becomes significantly more effective if integrated with a fire control system. It also has an identification friend or foe (IFF) system integrated as standard.

The designer general pointed out that KBM was developing air and naval variants of the system. "We have made some hardware to integrate it into air and naval platforms; of course, we are going to do that", he said.
KBM says Verba MANPADS now being sold internationally - IHS Jane's 360