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Manpads PDF

Manpads PDF

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Published by LiL TiNo
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Published by: LiL TiNo on Jul 11, 2010
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STRATFOR 700 Lavaca Street, Suite 900 Austin, TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300www.stratfor.com 
 
MANPADS:A Persistent and Potent Threat
Feb. 1, 2010
This analysis may not be forwarded or republished without express permission from STRATFOR.For permission, please submit a request toPR@stratfor.com. 
 
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©
 
2010 STRATFOR 700 Lavaca Street, Suite 900 Austin, TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300www.stratfor.com 
MANPADS: A Persistent andPotent Threat
Summary
For more than three decades, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles have beenused to attack civilian as well as militaryaircraft. While counterproliferation effortsworldwide have focused attention on thethreat — and managed to contain it tosome extent — these “man-portable airdefense systems” remain highly prized and sought-after by militant groups. This is because theyprovide a cheap, simple and reasonably effective way to bring down an airplane full of people. Andwhile missile technology continues to be refined, counterproliferation efforts are being offset by armstransfers on the black and gray markets.
Analysis
On Dec. 11, 2009, authorities seized an Ilyushin-76 cargo plane in Bangkok that contained 35 tons of North Korean-produced military weapons, including North Korean variants of the Chinese HN-5 “man-portable air defense system,” or MANPADS, which were being shipped to Iran. The HN-5 — a copy of the Soviet SA-7 (a first-generation MANPADS) — is less advanced than the MANPADS Iran produces onits own, which are based on later Chinese designs. So, the question was: Why would Iran be importingless advanced missiles? Or was Iran planning to provide North Korean missiles to proxy militantgroups, thereby gaining plausible deniability in case the missiles were ever used or seized?Iran has reportedly supplied MANPADS from a variety of sources to Hezbollah, the Islamic CourtsUnion of Somalia (forerunner of al Shabaab) and the Taliban. It is possible that the North KoreanMANPADS were also bound for Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas or to other hostile actors as a way to retaliate against Western powers operating in the region who are opposed to Iran’s nuclear program.In any case, it is clear that the shipment of MANPADS, which have been used by militants to attackcivilian airliners and are high on the list of counterproliferation efforts worldwide, was not anencouraging sign for the traveling public. Since 1973, at least 30 civilian aircraft have been broughtdown and approximately 920 civilians killed by MANPADS. While the number of such attempts declinedin the last decade, militant groups are still trying hard to get their hands on the weapons, which arerelatively cheap, easy to operate and provide a considerable amount of bang for the buck.
What They Are and How They Work
MANPADS are shoulder-fired, surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles that come in a variety of models.They were developed after the end of World War II, when U.S. military planners realized the need fora weapon that could provide better defense against attacks by aircraft flying at high speeds low to theground. Machine guns simply did not have the effective range, accuracy or velocity to address suchthreats. In 1948, the U.S. Army began researching and developing a weapon that could be moreeffectively used by infantrymen against aircraft, but it was not until 1967 that the first shoulder-firedanti-aircraft missile was fielded.This was the U.S.-manufactured FIM-43 Redeye tactical missile. The Soviets soon followed with theirSA-7 Grail (Strela-2) missiles, introduced in 1968, which borrowed heavily from the Redeye design. In1972, the improved U.S.-manufactured Redeye II gave rise to the FIM-92 Stinger missile, which, likethe Soviet SA-7s,has been updated many times over the years. The British introduced their Blowpipe
 
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©
 
2010 STRATFOR 700 Lavaca Street, Suite 900 Austin, TX 78701 Tel: 1-512-744-4300www.stratfor.com 
MANPAD in 1972. In the years since, many more versions of the weapon have been developed byother countries.By definition, MANPADS are designed to be man-portable. This means that the systems usually weighabout 40 pounds and are balanced on and fired from the shooter’s shoulder. The missile is generallystored in and launched from a narrow tube that averages roughly five feet in length and about threeinches in diameter. The system generally includes a battery and often an ejection motor. While theguidance mechanism within the missile itself can be quite complex, MANPADS are designed to beoperated in the field from the front lines, so durability is an important part of the design. A simpletargeting interface makes most MANPADS relatively easy to operate.MANPADS use a variety of guidance systems. The most common, perhaps, is infrared (IR) guidance, inwhich the missile seeks the hot exhaust from an aircraft’s engine. Older models are relatively easy todecoy if the target is aware and equipped with flares. Newer IR models are more difficult to decoy. Inthe design of the original MANPADS, such as the SA-7 and the Redeye, the IR seeker had to have arelatively clear line of sight to the rear aspect of an aircraft and its exhaust, limiting the missile’sengagement envelope considerably. Newer models have far more sophisticated and sensitive seekers,

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