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During a discussion about why Al Qaueda allegedly missed the El Al flight in Kenya with their Stinger I wrote the following response..

Also, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check this:


Begin forwarded message:

> From: Ian Andrew Bell
> Date: Fri Nov 29, 2002 2:49:47 PM US/Pacific
> To: fork [at] xent [dot] com
> Subject: Re: The air industry’s worst nightmare
> On Friday, November 29, 2002, at 08:42 AM, Tom wrote:
>> The question then is asked, are we thankfull for bad training or
>> faulty
>> equipment?
> Well, both.
> The Battery/Coolant Units (BCUs) on the guidance systems of Stinger
> shoulder-fired missiles only have a half-life of about 10 years. They
> contain liquid Argon, which super-cools the seeker head on the missile
> prior to launch in order to make it sensitive to heat (the Stinger is
> a heat-seeking missile which can approach a target at any aspect). As
> such, most of the original set that were provided by the CIA for the
> Afghan war have either been used, or have had the Argon contained
> inside the BCU go flat, like the can of spray paint in your garage.
> Even if you could find pure liquid Argon at the 7-11 in Peshawar you’d
> still have to disassemble the Stinger, including removing the missile
> from the sheath. None of this is easy to accomplish, of course,
> because General Dynamics designed the missile system and intends to
> make a lot of money performing maintenance on them. Among other
> things, if you pull the missile out from its protective sheath you’ll
> probably damage the seeker head, which makes the missile useless.
> The Stinger’s effect on Us is largely based on its mythology. Most
> historians acknowledge the Stinger as having been the single most
> effective technology in kicking the Soviets out from the Afghan
> conflict. And the arrival of these in the theatre of war definitely
> led to the turning point for the Afghan rebels, rendering Soviet
> aircraft (especially their helicopters) operationally ineffective.
> On a slow moving commercial airliner at a few hundred feet altitude,
> no Stinger with a functioning guidance system would ever miss.
> The reason the Stingers missed the El Al flight may be because the
> homing system was bypassed and the missile fired directly. The bad
> guys probably just pointed the rocket sheath at the plane, crossed the
> wires, and prayed. Or worse, they probably fired the missile with no
> Argon super-cooling the seeker head. You might as well take an RPG to
> the end of the runway and practice your deflection shooting. You can
> probably buy those in Dallas at the local gun shop.
> -Ian.


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