Iran gives Taliban helicopter missile

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Feb 28, 2009.

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  1. From The Sunday Times
    March 1, 2009
    Iran gives Taliban helicopter missile
    Michael Smith
    IRAN is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with surface-to-air missiles capable of destroying a helicopter, according to American intelligence sources.

    They believe the Taliban wants to use the SA-14 Gremlins missiles to launch a “spectacular” attack against coalition forces in Helmand, where insurgents claim to be gaining the upper hand.

    Although British and American helicopters operating in southern Afghanistan are equipped with defensive systems to deflect an attempted strike, the SA-14 can evade such counter-measures.

    It was a shoulder-held SA-14 supplied by Iran that was used by Iraqi insurgents to shoot down a Lynx helicopter over Basra in May 2006.

    Five British service personnel died in that attack, including Wing Commander John Coxen and Flight Lieutenant Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill, the first British servicewoman killed in action since the second world war.
    More on the link
  2. I like the fact that there is no named source for the information. SAM has always been a threat in Afghanistan because of the amount of Stingers supplied in the 1980s. If it is proved that the missiles are Iranian supplied I'm sure that the Americans will do something about it.

    If you want to read a decent book about shooting down helicopters in Afghanistan read In Honour Bound by Gerald Symour.
  3. Surely the stingers from the 80s would be out of useful life now, you have to replace their batteries fairly regularly? :?
  4. The Times is good, finding this out before one is discovered in a find or has actually been used in action.

    There was an Op a few years ago to buy Stingers from sources in Afghan, I understand it was pretty successful
  5. I think there was a bit more to the shooting down of the Lynx Helicopter, not connected with the type of missile. Not for open forum, but the threat suggested by this article is well known about.

    The Inquest on the shooting down of the chopper was barely readable, so much of it was redacted. I hope the lessons have been learned.
  6. Would not surprise me. Elements in Iran have a history of opportunistically trading arms with sworn ideological enemies; that has included even Israel.

    There's also a prudent habit in Qom's careful micro-diplomacy. They like to spread their bets arround the players as they have done very successfully in Iraq. Like a good chess player seeding the board with opportunities.

    With Obama apparently set on a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq where Qom has gained great deal of influence they may fear slowly losing an important strategic advantage in dealing with DC. They are still at least five years from a meaningful nuclear deterrent and until then the US remains an existential threat. Afghanistan is Iran's backyard and they may be attracted to the idea of widening their asset networks there. Gaining a little leverage within the Pashtun clans would be typically far sighted.

    But why a trickle of SA-14s rather than a flood? The Mullahs may have been watching Charlie Wilson's War and figuring out that there a lot of diplomatic leverage to be had here. Reminding DC of the role covertly supplied MANPADs played in the humiliation of the mighty Red Army can do them no harm.

    There also plenty of powerful folk in Iran that are simply fond of a fast buck. Times are hard and arms prices are hurtling up; plenty of Taliban opiate travels across Iran.

    Though I suspect that any Iranian involvement with the cluster of groups we lazily call the Taliban is trivial compared with the backing of generous donors from the Gulf Kingships and their patrons in Lahore.
  7. I think the batteries are connected to the weapon system prior to firing but yes, they would have a set shelf life. Also with the launchers, missiles and batteries being stored in a cave or a mud hut rather than a climate controlled environment wouldn't help matters either. SAM is a credible threat, enough to have planes cancelled. I, for one, would not like to travel around in an aircraft without counter measures.
  8. This chap thinks not.
    Though I think that may just be a rumor put about for tactical advantage.
  9. 'scuse me AT coming through.

    Isn't that just typical of a wedge, trying to be an ATO ;-)

    Missile systems such as this will utilise thermal batteries. These, once initiated, generate a massive amount of power and heat. They do not go flat as they are stored unenergized (if there is such a word).

    Most munitions do have a shelf life, but many are still servicable at the end of that shelf life (it's used as a management tool to ensure the quality of our munitions) and I doubt the Taliban could give a toss anyway.

    Milan and Swingfire have not long been out of service and they are from the Stinger era. Both were perfectly servicable systems until their withdrawl.

    PIRA acquired SAM 7s a few years back, but were not supplied with the thermal batteries which had to be attached before firing, hence the reason it was never used against us.
  10. I stand corrected, I don't profese to be a weapons expert. that's your job.
  11. Stingers were fired back in 2001/2002 open source confirmed 1980's stock..I would be more concerned about Chinese and Iranian copies of later generation shoulder fired SAMs (later than SA14). Iran knows if it gets too heavily involved in the shooting down of allied aircraft, it risks retaliation by the US. Looking at the requirements for theatre entry I am glad to say, British Top Brass now take these threats very seriously. Especially in the AT world, a welcome and relatively recent conversion. Big risks were routinely taken until fairly recently. If you are paxing out to Afg you should be reassured by the quality of aircraft self defence systems in the RAF.

    I am glad to say, we are one step ahead in this area.
  12. Good story that.
  13. No doubt that we are. But it still can't be a nice feeling if one gets launched at you and it only takes one to get through the defensive suites.
  14. Agree with above post, better home late than not home at all.
  15. I thought the Iranians hated the Taliban just as much as we do.