SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)
Iraqi and U.S. air patrols now have to contend with the possibility that ISIS militants have sophisticated surface-to-air missile launchers, or man-portable air defense systems. ISIS claims to have shot down several Iraqi helicopters.
It’s long been a security nightmare: terrorists capable of shooting down aircraft. New images posted by ISIS show it may already be a reality.
With U.S. aircraft, including Apache helicopters and AC-130 gunships now in action over Iraq, so-called man portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, are a grave and growing concern.
“There’s clearly significant potential threat to aviation operating in Iraqi and Syrian airspace due to ongoing fighting.”
MANPADS like the FN-6 can strike aircraft flying at altitudes up to 12,500 feet, making both Apaches and AC-130 gunships vulnerable, though not higher-flying combat aircraft such as FA-18’s and B1B’s, or commercial aircraft at cruising altitude.
MANPADS are a threat however, to civilian or military aircraft on take-off or landing, a threat that has grown as ISIS forces have moved within several miles of Baghdad International Airport.
ISIS militants are now sharing missile know-how far and wide, even posting a manual on “the best ways to down an Apache aircraft”, including recommended techniques such as firing from elevated areas.