Engine...TDR and high-performance directed rocket motor
Warhead...high explosive blast/fragmentation
The Stingray is an active radar guided conventional advanced medium air to air missile (CAMRAAM) developed by the UNETCO International Armaments Consortium. Major contributors to this project include corporations from both NATO countries and Russia; the missiles themselves are assembled and armed in several sites and shipped as necessary to X-COM facilities world wide. The Stingray is a cutting edge Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) capable of all weather day and night performance. It is often colloquially referred to as the "Spanker" (no relation to the MR-UR-100 Sotka) missile by some pilots, due to its attack pattern of hitting the underside of a UFO as it banks upward, "spanking it on the ass." When a Stingray is launched, X-COM pilots use the brevity code Fox-Three in radio communication, as with all active-guidance missiles.
In function, the Stingray is similar to the MBDA Meteor, in that it utilizes a Throttleable Ducted Rocket (TDR) (a ramjet) with an integrated nozzleless booster. As in the Meteor, the TDR propulsion system provides a long range, high average speed, and wide operational envelope from sea level to high altitude. The Stingray also utilized the most advanced three dimensional thrust vectoring and target acquisition technologies. This limits its range, compared to many other conventional missiles, but gives the weapon improved maneuverability - a necessity in hitting UFOs - and a powerful warhead. A powerful two-way datalink allows the missile to receive targeting information and updates from multiple sources, decreasing the chance of losing target lock.
The Stingray can be refitted to use a small nuclear warhead, but to date this variant has never been used in combat.
The Stingray remains UNETCO's conventional (in terms of warhead) interception option. Due to the fact that it does not have a nuclear warhead, it was the weapon of choice for the interdiction of smaller UFOs early in the war up to the development of laser and plasma beam technology. It would prove dangerous to use against larger alien craft, however, and by 2002 it was phased out almost entirely in favor of air-to-air plasma beam weapons.