U.S. intelligence officials have long been worried about the danger of Venezuelan military weapons falling into the hands of criminals or terrorists as the socialist country collapses.
Reuters <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-arms-manpads-idUSKBN18I0E9> added some high-octane nightmare fuel on Monday by reporting on military documents that confirm Venezuela has about 5,000 Russian-made shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles in its inventory. That would be substantially more than the roughly 3,800 missiles described in fragmentary shipping records supplied by Russia to the United Nations.
“The missiles, which are shoulder-mounted and can be operated by one person, pose a serious threat to commercial and military aircraft. Weapons experts said there have long been fears that the weapons could be stolen, sold or somehow channeled to the wrong hands, concerns exacerbated by the current civil unrest in Venezuela and the economic crisis roiling the oil-producing nation,” Reuters writes.
Reuters obtained what it describes as a “Venezuelan military presentation” detailing the stockpile of SA-24 Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS). The news service states that it was able to verify other figures appearing in this presentation by checking them against public records.
The missiles are said to have been purchased near the end of previous socialist dictator Hugo Chávez’s rule, a purchase justified on the grounds of a potential “imperialist” invasion by the United States. Venezuelan soldiers were filmed marching with what appear to be shoulder-mounted missile launchers in the last years of Chávez’s reign. According to a former Venezuelan general who spoke anonymously to Reuters, the MANPADS are still positioned primarily along the coast to repel a hypothetical U.S. invasion.
We note that Venezuela has a “thriving illicit weapons trade,” driven by rampant reports of soldiers and police officers stealing weapons and ammo.
One 9M343 missile
Brazil, Iraq, Libya, Russia, Venezuela.
17 kg ready to fire
500 to 6,000 m
Type of engaged targets
tactical aircraft, helicopter, UAV and cruise missile
Weight: 10.8 kg
Weight Warhead: 2,5 kg
Warhead type : HE Fragmentation
Flight speed: 570 m/s
Altitude: 10 – 3,500 m
5 to 10 sec.
Passive IR homing device and night vision (operating in the medium IR range)
Length, 1,63 m
SA-24 Grinch 9K338 Igla-s portable air defense missile system technical data sheet specifications information description pictures photos images identification intelligence Russia Russian army