reports that over 20,000 surface-to-air missiles mainly, SA-24s, along a number of SA-7s have fallen into terrorist hands.
The SA-7 was developed in the 1970s to shoot down low flying western aircraft, and has a max altitude 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) and a warhead of 1.15 kilogram (2.5lbs). The SA-7 has been fired at civilian airliners several times, including an incident where a DHL aircraft was hit by an SA-7 taking off from Baghdad in 2003.
However, the more serious threat is the SA-24 Grinch. The SA-24 has a maximum engagement altitude of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), and a warhead of 2.5 kilograms (5.5lbs). The SA-24 also has a more advanced guidance system than the SA-7, and is not as easy to evade as the SA-7. The SA-24 entered into service with the Russian military in 2004 making it rather new, and thus is just entering it's service life. This also makes the SA-24 a threat for a long time to come as the batteries in a MANPADS's (MAn Portable Air Defense System ) guidance system determine the missile's lifespan as long as there are no problems with the missile itself.
As Libya is still in turmoil it will be interesting to see what other weapons are stolen from ex-Qaddafi weapons caches.
Photo Credit: Mike1979Russia