Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hamas and Hezbollah Have SA-24s

    Aviation Week reports that Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, are now in possession of an unknown number of SA-24 "Grinches" from Libya.  The missiles reportedly were shipped from Libya to Iran, where they were sent to Syria and Gaza. 
     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.
    This is not a surprising development, back in September I wrote that a number of SA-24s had fallen into terrorist hands. It was only a matter of time till the SA-24 showed up around Israel. Now it will be interesting to see what kind of threat this poses to Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon and Gaza, and  how long it takes till a plane gets shot down.

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