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04-01-11, 04:31 AM #1
Who Sold Libya Its Supermissiles?
he U.S. government calls it the “one of the most lethal” weapons of its kind — an advanced, portable missile, designed to knock planes out of the sky. A variant of it just showed up in Moammar Gadhafi’s army and nobody seems to know how exactly it got there. But diplomatic cables, unearthed by WikiLeaks, suggest one potential culprit: the Chavez regime in Venezuela.
Aviation Week’s eagle-eyed reporter David Fulghum spotted a Russian SA-24 Grinch surface-to-air missile mounted on a Libyan army truck in recent cable news footage. And that’s a cause for concern: The SA-24 is more accurate, longer-flying, and more lethal than than earlier models of surface-to-air missiles. It also has a dual-band infrared seeker and is more difficult to jam than older systems.
The missiles “reportedly have counter-countermeasures that may be difficult for planes with just flares to counter,” Matthew Schroeder, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Arms Sales Monitoring Project, tells Danger Room. ”Overall it’s just a much more capable system.”
Aviation Week reports that the majority of coalition combat air patrols are conducted at 20,000 feet or higher, putting them above the roughly 11,000-foot range of the SA-24. But as Fulghum notes, this still leaves plenty of humanitarian, evacuation or other lower-flying operations at risk.
So how did the missile get there and where did it come from? Thanks to a shaky system of international arms-sale monitoring, its hard to say.
Russia has shown a willingness to sell Libya other sophisticated air defense systems in the recent past. In 2010, Moscow announced a deal to sell Tripoli a $1.8 billion package of arms that included two batteries of its big, bleeding-edge S-300 air defense missiles, in addition to Sukhoi fighter jets and T-90 tanks. But the deal was never finalized.
Schroeder says he can’t find any other Russian missile sales in the last seven years. But countries aren’t always keen to be candid about their arms deals.
“Many countries do not report — or report inconsistently — to the UN Arms Register, and even those that do report often withhold key information, such as the model of the weapons that are transferred,” Schroeder says.
Who Sold Libya Its Supermissiles? | Danger Room | Wired.comDo not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
04-01-11, 04:38 AM #2
The Grinch/Grouse is not appreciably different than a Stinger.I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
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