Missiles That Matter

Here’s our quick mention of the North Korean Rocket fail — that made everyone angry — yesterday. Yup, the big, what turned out to be an almost non-event that everyone’s been obsessing over and will now promptly forget. (But, wait, you know someone’s going to start raising whether the failiure of the long-ragen rocket aimed at putting a “communications satellite” on orbit was due to Western sabotage.) Despite the title of this post, click here to see why that missile actually does matter. Ok, wow, enough about the DPRK’s damn rocket already.

Now to talk about some rockets that actually pose a threat. NATO yesterday said it blew up 5,000-shoulder-fired surface to air missiles (called Man-Portable Air Defense Systems; MANPADS. I love that ridiculous acronym, btw) that were rounded up after the fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year.

That’s all well and good, but those were only a quarter of the 20,000 or so shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that Gadhafi’s military had stockpiled around the country. We’ve written about this potential insurgent treaasure trove for a while now and just last month we saw that some of Gadhafi’s most advanced MANPADs have made their way into the hands of Levantine bad boys Hezbollah and Hamas. Remember, Gadhafi’s loose SAM stockpiles don’t just include ancient Soviet-made SA-7s that can barely find a target, they include the Russian-built SA-24 Grinch, one of the newest and most advanced shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles out there.

Now it appears that the Krazy Kolonel’s missiles and other weapons are making their way accross Africa and they may even be fueling violence everywhere from Mali to the waters off Somalia. In fact, Somali pirates may even be using naval mines looted from Gadhafi’s old bases!

Per Reuters:

“We found that Libyan weapons are being sold in what is the world’s biggest black market for illegal gun smugglers, and Somali pirates are among those buying from sellers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and other countries,” said Judith van der Merwe, of the Algiers-based African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism.

“We believe our information is credible and know that some of the pirates have acquired ship mines, as well as Stinger and other shoulder-held missile launchers,” Van der Merwe told Reuters on the sidelines of an Indian Ocean naval conference.

I’m sure no on needs to be reminded of what a terrorist hiding near the flight path of a major airport could do with an SA-24.

  • dddd

    This supports the argument made by people such as Bruce Schneier that airport safety would benefit from a greater emphasis on perimeter security, as opposed to internal checkpoints that fail to make us any safer.

  • Chris

    Love the pic! Good to see Reebok is now sponsoring the jihad!

    • TMB

      Carlos Mencia joked several years ago that we weren’t in Iraq for the oil. “Hey Achmed, you’re thinking small. Americans think big. Oil is worth about (finger pinch) this much compared to the money we’re going to bone you out of when we open up Walmart! In two months you’ll be wearing a turban with a Nike swoosh!

    • ffjbentson

      when your stairing down the bore sight of an Apache or Reapier drone you need all the traction you can get…serpintine serpintine!!!!

  • Lance

    Saw this happening after we supported the terrorist in the civil war. However im glad we did get ride of a quarter of these missiles. How ever the SA-7 may be old and dated which is easy for modern military aircraft to avoid and escape one. This isn’t the case for commercial planes a old missile would have a easy time hitting one when a passenger plan is landing or just takes off. SA-14s and SA-24s are a larger threat since they can shoot down modern military planes All in the hands of Al Qaeda Hamas and Hezbollah thanks to the dumb decision to back Islamist against a bad but more controllable dictator.

    We need to have our airliners like Israels to get some rudimentary counter measures to small sams asap.

    • DGR

      The problem is that a single SA-7 isnt going to completly blow up a commercial jet. Ya it will destroy an engine, and cause a lot of damage but the aircraft wouldnt be blown out of the sky per say. Granted its not going to keep flying for to long, but there would be a good chance of getting it back to an airfield intact.

      The bigger threat is that the media panic over such an incident would cripple the airlines and we would be looking at a near complete closure of air traffic as we know it. You would see airlines fold up in bankrupcy within a weeks time and within a month id be willing to bet air traffic would be almost non existant. There would be a call to install counter measures on passenger planes which would be expensive and again force airlines to spend money they dont have. In short the real danger would be economic, no shoulder fired weapon is going to obliterate a full passenger jet (unless its a lucky hit) the real damage would be the aftermath.

  • Sgt_Buffy

    20,000 rounds or just the launchers?

  • opl

    20,000 missiles? really? seems incredibly inflated.

  • McPosterdoor

    This site is a ‘treaasure’ trove of spelling errors. If you don’t proofread the terrorists win.

  • SJE

    Successful “big news” terrorism usually requires state sponsorship. AlQaeda was sheltered in Af-Pak and by the Pak-ISI. Hezzbollah is funded by Assad. It was Ghadaffi who bombed PanAm over Lockerbie and bombed the German nightclub.

    So, yeah, we should be concerned about MANPADS. At the same time, I’m not sure that we can conclude that the world is now less safe because Ghadaffi is gone.

    • tiger

      The US have long since moved on from Lockerbie. The Bomber trial, the end of his WMD program, Visits to the UN. Obama picks & chooses who to be bugged over. I’ve yet to see one damn thing done about North Korea. Missles, ship sinkings, nuke tests, shellings. All they get is nasty emails……

      • blight_

        The DPRK has been in its dunce corner since…well, the beginning.

        Clinton couldn’t get much out of them. Bush Jr put them on the Axis list and didn’t get anything out of them either.

        The United States moved on with Libya with a mere armchair guarantee that Gaddafi would disassemble his WMD program. Saddam made similar promises and even had UN inspectors on the ground, and nobody believed him.

        Once the US gave Gaddafi the Gold Star of Rehabilitation the floodgates opened. The UN came. FN could sell weapons to Libya. So could the Russians. Everyone was happy…

      • SJE

        My point is not whether we have moved on or not. The point is that the risk posed by loose MANPADS has to be balanced against the decreased risk for getting rid of a known sponsor of terrorism.

  • Ems

    aren’t those SA24 all suppose to be truck mounted launch system…rather than actually portable ? much harder to transport to the US

  • Hotel55

    The worst ones are the Western Origin Man Portable Air Defense Systems, or WOMANPADS, for short… Those things can be nasty!

  • blight_

    Total production of the Stinger is allegedly between 70-80k…but that’s /total/. Hard to imagine Gaddafi sitting on that many missiles. Not that many helicopters to shoot down?

  • anantoniusbauwens

    That news I like blowing up 5,000 shoulder armed missles at one timenow lets stop making them so we can all fly.I dont think there is a need for artm. since we have high alltitute pilotless planes so lets get rid of more of these missles,from dictators countries that have fallen.We surelly do not want them on any street in any country showing up in wrong hands of terror…

  • tom

    Those nutty norks trying to play big boy in the real world, doesn’t “chaz bono” oops! i mean Uno should understand that they could benefit far more with peaceful methods then trying to sabre rattle. China keeps them as a counter balance and a leverage for the west.If it was up to china the korea as we all know it would be united and be a powerhouse in the world markets beyond what Uno could ever think of. Rightnow Uno has to please the old guard to hold his future spot as god(this is a joke i know) an has to jump through the loops.China is learning this lesson and maybe the norks will some decade down the road

  • anthony

    I hope they will destroy most of them,before they destroy innocent people.The markt in weapons id so big ,let alone the sales,lets get those dictator led countriesdown before they can buy such to use against us when to late!!

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