War Hero
Whilst researching an essay I've found lots of references to 1st 2nd and 3rd generation man portable air defence systems. This is all well and good but I haven't got a clue what the differences between the generations are and Google is not being its usual helpful self. Any help would be appreciated.


At a guess.

Gen 1's normaly tend to be simple IR seaking missiles, like SA-7's.
Gen 2 can be Either SACLOS Like BLowpipe (Or is it javlen), or IR seaking.
Gen 3's are probaly Lasser guaded like starstreak, or any of the abouve.

the generation is jsut how moden the missile is, the higher the generation, the Higer the technolgy and the more deadly it is.


War Hero
Thanks, will try PP.
You really need to ask a serving ATO about this (on the RLC forum), preferably one from the School of Ammo (they'll have access to a lot of info on the subject). We were taught the differences on my AT course, but that was a long time ago, when third generation missiles were still under development.

At a rough guesstimate, I'd say:

First generation:

A. CLOS (Command to Line-of-Sight) system - You had to guide the missile on to the target, in the same way you would control a RC model plane, by watching where it was going and adjusting accordingly.
B. Fired from a rail

Second generation:

A. SACLOS (Semi-Automatic Command Line-of-Sight) system; you kept the crosshairs on the target, and the electronics pack in the launcher tracked where the missile was going and guided it onto the target, saving you a lot of thumb wiggling.
B. Launched from a tube (made it more stable on launch, so it was less likely to head skyward, or bury itself just infront of the firer - but still happened occasionally)

Third generation:

A. Fire-and-forget (choose the target, squeeze the trigger, and the missile finds it's own way there)

There's probably a lot more to it than that, but I'm just an EOD grunt these days. Maybe this might prompt a proper ATO to put me right and give you a more definitive answer.

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