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AviationISIS can now use decommissioned shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles
Weapon experts say that ISIS engineers have developed advanced new weapon systems capable of shooting down passenger jets. Different terror groups have had access to these missiles since the 1970s, but experts note that storing such systems for long periods of time requires the development of thermal batteries to power the missiles when they are taken out of storage and into the field. Developing such batteries and maintaining them requires advanced knowledge.
Weapon experts say that ISIS engineers have developed advanced new weapon systems capable of shooting down passenger jets.
The Independent reports that new footage shows ISIS militants creating a homemade thermal battery which could be used as a power source for decommissioned military surface-to-air missiles.
Different terror groups have had access to these missiles since the 1970s, but experts note that storing such systems for long periods of time requires the development of thermal batteries to power the missiles when they are taken out of storage and into the field. Developing such batteries and maintaining them requires advanced knowledge.
Kim Sengupta, the Independent’s defense correspondent, said the development was significant.
“After the United States and the United Kingdom entered Afghanistan in 2001, there were fears that Stinger missiles given by the Americans to the Afghan Mujahedin to shoot down Russian aircraft may be used by the Taliban against the Western forces” he said.
“That never came to pass because the missiles’ batteries had a limited shelf life and the Taliban were not able to find a way around that. If ISIS has developed a process that enables them to replace these batteries, that will obviously be of major concern.”
Other experts note that with access to this kind of battery, ISIS would be in a position to recommission thousands of discarded and moth-balled missiles and take them to the field.
Sky News, which showed the new video, said the missiles, once locked on their targets, are 99 percent accurate.
ISIS have two main sources for shoulder-fired missiles. Libya had thousands of such missiles in its arsenal, and when Col. Qaddafi was toppled in November 2011, many of these missiles were captured by various armed militias in the countries, including Islamist militias which would later affiliate themselves with ISIS. The second source is depots of the Iraqi army in Anbar province. When, in spring 2014, the Iraqi army melted away and fed without fight in the face of advancing ISIS fighters, it left behind hundreds of these U.S.-supplied missiles. These missiles are now in ISIS hands.
Sky News also showed another in which ISIS instructors train militants on how to operate a remote-controlled car carrying explosives. These cars could be used to launch attacks on high value targets.
Major Chris Hunter, a former British Army bomb disposal technician and now counter-explosives expert told the Independent that the footage was “one of the most significant intelligence finds” in terms of ISIS.
“What we’ve seen with their typical propaganda videos is they’re very, very high quality. They’re designed, they’re produced to inspire people and prospectively touch the nerves of anybody who is viewing them, they’re done a very specific way,” he said.
“With this training footage it’s very clearly purely designed to pass on information — to pass on the progress in the research and development areas – and it gives us a very good insight into where they are now, what they’re aspiring to do and crucially the diversity of the types of threats we might face.”