20,000 Surface-to-Air Missiles Missing in Libya

Maybe I'll drive the next time I go on holiday!

U.S. officials had once thought there was little chance that terrorists could get their hands on many of the portable surface-to-air missiles that can bring down a commercial jet liner.

But now that calculation is out the window, with officials at a recent secret White House meeting reporting that thousands of them have gone missing in Libya.

"Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that's our worst nightmare," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, a member of the Senate's Commerce, Energy and Transportation Committee.

The nightmare has been made real with the discovery in Libya that an estimated 20,000 portable, heat-seeking missiles have gone missing from unguarded Army weapons warehouses.

The missiles, four to six-feet long and Russian-made, can weigh just 55 pounds with launcher. They lock on to the heat generated by the engines of aircraft, can be fired from a vehicle or from a combatant's shoulder, and are accurate and deadly at a range of more than two miles.

Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago.

"I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want," said Bouckaert, HRW's emergencies director. "Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles."

The ease with which rebels and other unknown parties have snatched thousands of the missiles has raised alarms that the weapons could end up in the hands of al Qaeda, which is active in Libya.
I'm more surprised, that anyone would have thought that this wouldn't have happened!
Its not confined to MANPADS; just about every kind of weapon, from small arms through to large scale artilley systems has been selectively removed from Libya into neighbouring states. Theres been some reporting of this, but not enough to generate too much public anguish. Remeber the "oops factor" with Iraq when one and all helped themselves to Saddam's stock? At least that was, in the main, for domestic consumption. The Libyan stock is, I imagine, spread across the bulk of Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa and into the Horn of Africa. Talk aboout sowing the Dragon's Teeth. Years of work ahead for any nation intent upon a bit of pre-emptive interdiction.
Love the irony in the advert at the bottom of this page! :grin:

That's par for the course for this administration. Sen Barbara "Call Me Senator, General. I'm sure I've earned the title" Boxer is bleating the line that her fellow Dum-ocrats no doubt could echo. I don't know if there was anything the Mulatto could have done to prevent the disappearance of 20,000 Russian made missiles; **** all in all probability, but it's laughable that no one considered the fact that it could happen. A blind man could have seen it.


Book Reviewer
Just one sobering aspect of the Libyan 'liberation'. Other than who really calls the shots in the NTC. If SAMs are being reported what the hell else is out there in the desert? Mustard gas has been found. And a particularly chilling line from a piece in the Telegraph...

Gaddafi's regime had "accumulated the largest known stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles," Mr Martin said.
"Thousands were destroyed during NATO operations. But I have to report to you our increasing concerns over the looting and likely proliferation of MANPADS," or Man-Portable Air Defense Systems, Mr Martin told the 15-member Security Council.
He said munitions and large numbers of mines had also been looted.
Nuclear and chemical weapons materials are mainly controlled by National Transitional Council forces.

My bold. Mainly controlled. So not entirely controlled then?

How much skill / technical knowledge does it take to actually operate one of these?

I'm guessing it's a bit more than point it at the sky and press the loud button...
IIRC, Comdt RMAS talked about air mobility and the current, negligible, MANPADS threat on HERRICK; he even went so far as to state that on he AKX that Iran had its own reasons for not wanting to see significant numbers of MANPADS deployed by insurgents on its eastern borders. Perhaps that dynamic is about to change? And if they are going to the Horn of Africa, how long will it be before some Somali pirates attempt to shoot down a NATO naval helicopter?
How much skill / technical knowledge does it take to actually operate one of these?

I'm guessing it's a bit more than point it at the sky and press the loud button...
It must be, if I was a scrote in Libya I'd be having a play with everything I could find! Certainly be having a few shots at planes if I could. I wonder if there have been many firings not reported to the public?

You must wonder why with such (reported) stockpiles of weapons they weren't used more? Lack of training/manpower?
One does have to wonder - if there really are that many missiles in servicable condition floating around Libya, why haven't the (at least vaguely) trained soldiers of the Pro-Gaddaffi forces been using them to take pot-shots at Apaches/Tigers/etc?
Not exactly WMD's, but as excuses go, it'll do for now.

Better get the "UN Peacekeeping Libya" Tour T shirts printed now then?
gaddafi probably brought shedloads of the missles but neglected to buy batteries as not shiny or ally thats what did for the provos.
can't imagine ammo storage tech was a very well paid respected job in libya.
plus they have been looted by mongs several have been fired off for fun
I seem to remember an 'own goal' early on, where a rebel Mig-23 was brought down over Benghazi by rebel ground fire/MANPADS.......
my personal favourite early on was when the RAF blew up some rebels and after the press crying about blue on blue the rebels came out and said

"weeeeeell....we were kinda firing into the air at the time to be fair"

the ineptness of these retards really pissed me off (not sure why, probably just a knock on from thinking the whole thing was a bad idea) and every time i saw one of them firing an AK without a shoulder stock i silently wished them dead
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Unknown_Quantity Current Affairs, News and Analysis 2
F Current Affairs, News and Analysis 16
Gunner_ear Army Pay, Claims & JPA 42

Similar threads