Remember all those Libyan surface to air missiles that went missing during last year’s civil war in Libya? The ones that NATO was desperately trying to track down? Well, some of the shoulder-fired SA-24 Grinch SAMs have made their way into the hands of Hezbollah and they’re pointed at Israel.
The Grinch isn’t some aging Soviet system from the 1970s , nope, it’s Russia’s newest shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile and one of the most advanced MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems) out there. The pic above shows a truck mounted-dual launcher version of the system in Libya.
The missiles were apparently smuggled to Iran where they were then sent to Iran’s proxy force, Hezbollah, in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, reports Aviation Week.
Still, the missiles might prove to be more a a nuiscance than a real threat to military aircraft, notes AvWeek:
Although the weapon is one of the more advanced Manpads on the world market, Western electronic warfare experts appear to have quickly developed operational techniques to defeat it. Even without the most advanced laser-based directed infrared countermeasures systems, British WAH-64 Apache attack helicopters faced a number of SA-24 firings and defeated them.
Notice that doesn’t mention civilian airliners on take-off or landing. The heat-seeking SA-24 has a range of 11,000 feet. A lucky shot with one of them could it the right place on an airliner. No fun.