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Posted: 9/23/2001 11:53:27 PM EDT
Los Angeles Times: Stinger Missiles Not Top U.S. Threat [url]http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-attacks-stingers0924sep23.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dnation%2Dheadlines[/url] Stinger Missiles Not Top U.S. Threat By JOHN J. LUMPKIN Associated Press Writer September 23 2001, 10:45 PM PDT WASHINGTON -- American-made Stinger surface-to-air missiles remain in small numbers in Afghanistan, left over from when the United States supported rebels fighting the Soviet Union more than a decade ago. The shoulder-fired, heat-seeking Stinger is capable of bringing down a low-flying plane or a helicopter. Both Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia and the rebels of the Northern Alliance are believed to have a small supply of the missiles. Experts said it is unlikely they will present a great threat to U.S. aircraft flying over the country. During the late 1980s, the CIA, through Pakistan, supplied hundreds of missiles and launchers to the Afghani rebels, the mujahedin. The rebels used the Stingers effectively, bringing down scores of Soviet helicopter gunships. The introduction of Stingers into the conflict is widely regarded as a turning point in the war, as it gave the rebels a high-tech weapon to oppose the Soviets. The Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, and the communist government there fell a short time later. The missiles still in Afghanistan are at least a decade old and have not been properly maintained. U.S. aircraft and helicopters have newer countermeasures and flares to spoof the missiles. Stingers also are more effective in daylight, when a gunner can examine his target before firing. U.S. helicopters carrying special forces will probably operate only at night, said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a think tank in Alexandria, Va. "You think about American forces -- we own the night," he said. Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, said the Stingers supplied to Afghanistan also had "friend-or-foe" receivers that only let them be fired at Soviet aircraft. Those can be removed by a clever engineer, he said. "The Stinger weapons are kind of obsolete weapons at this point," Cannistraro said. "They have a mythological status." Several Taliban soldiers were seen toting Stingers in a recent military parade in Kabul. The missiles still see action from time to time in Afghanistan's ongoing civil war. In 1999, a Stinger fired by the Northern Alliance brought down a Taliban Su-22 fighter-bomber. At the time, it was estimated that between 50 and 100 Stingers remained in the country. Several years ago, the United States launched a buyback program, offering to purchase remaining Stinger missiles for $80,000. Washington said it feared the missiles could be used by terrorists against civilian aircraft. The missiles, built by Hughes Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz., have a range of about two miles and can hit targets at altitudes around 12,000 feet. Copyright 2001 Associated Press
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 4:01:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/24/2001 4:04:44 AM EDT by DaMan]
The old stingers are not effective against modern US high performance aircraft. However, they ARE effective against commercial airliners! That's how I expect the Taliban would try to employ them. Also, I think the number of stingers remaining in Afgahanistan was underestimated by the AP by about 100 (there are probably 200-250 remaining in Taliban control and the Northern Alliance also has some). The US will probably also supply the Northern Alliance with more such weapons, which we may face again down the road. DaMan
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 7:39:27 PM EDT
A Stinger only has a range of a few miles, so unless that airliner is taking off or landing it's going to be hard to bring one down.
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 4:11:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2001 4:11:37 AM EDT by DaMan]
[url]http://www.vantage-security.com/artsting.htm[/url] DaMan
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