By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
September 29, 2011
And, the hits just keep on comin'. Well, it's not like we couldn't see this one coming. File this one under the law of unintended consequences–unless you're a really cynical person. The U.S. government is currently looking for a significant portion of Moammar Gadhafi's (or "Moammar Khadafy's") rather impressive stockpile of up to 20,000 Russian MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System) surface-to-air missiles/anti-aircraft heat-seeking missiles, possibly including both KBM Igla-S (SA-24) "9M342" and SA-7b Grail systems, which appear to have disappeared (been "carted away" by truck, actually) into the ether sometime after all the fun started over there. Whups.
U.S. intelligence services (CIA, NSA, DIA, and just about every other alphabet soup agency) were most likely well aware of the giant stash, and yet for some reason, the geniuses in NATO (including the United States) still decided to bomb and invade Libya, a country with whom we the United States weren't at war and who did not appear to be a direct or immediate threat to the United States, anyway, without first destroying or securing Gadhafi's MANPADS stash. I think it's fair to say that this agregious strategic mistake now threatens the life of every air traveler flying overseas, and potentially inside the continental United States, as well. After all, it's not like our borders are totally secure, particularly the southern one.
We don't yet know just how many of those 20,000 marvels of modern Russian military technology drove off. 10,000? 15,000? All 20,000? It's anyone's guess. Maybe if you can guess the exact number, you can win a Toyota. Just check the breaks a couple of times before you get on the freeway. Anyway, whatever the number is, it's a big one. WAY too big. "I think the probability of Al Qaeda being able to smuggle some of these Stinger-like missiles out of Libya is probably pretty high" says Richard Clarke, former White House National Security Advisor.
That's the bad news. The good news is, the United States military industrial complex has a rather elegant (and convenient) solution, and it's brought to you by the good folks at Northrop Grumman. A commercial aircraft version of the Northrop Grumman Guardian Missile Defense System anti-missile laser system/counter-MANPADS laser system pod, essentially an updated/uprated version of the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-24(V) Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM), will in all likelihood now become a required feature on the belly of all U.S. intercontinental and overseas-operating commercial aircraft. Guardian system, just like its predecessor, detects, tracks, intercepts and deflects an inbound ground-to-air heat-seeking (thermal/IR signature-intercepting) missile with an eye-safe laser beam by disrupting the incoming missile's thermal/IR (infrared) seeker. Guardian provides 360-degree protection. At approximately $1M ($1 Million) a pop, Guardian isn't cheap, but then again, quality and advanced U.S. military technology never are. Total outfitting cost for the fleet is estimated at approx. $6B ($6 Billion) to protect 500+ planes. "Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that's our worst nightmare," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California. Boxer went on to say "I think we should insure that the wide-body planes all have this protection, and that's a little more than 500 of these planes." As much as DR might dislike agreeing with Sen. Boxer (since we're not exactly big fans of her's), we have no choice on this one. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Northrop Grumman Guardian Anti-Missile System Update (PDF Format)
The Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-24(V) Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) system pod has been around for awhile and is in current use on U.S. military aircraft, and it's our understanding at present that it's an effective system.
DefenseReview is an obvious fan of military defense technology and tactical technology. However, while ruminating on the past decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, I can't help but think about President Dwight D. Eisenhower's famous military industrial complex speech, in which he stated the following in his overall warning:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
Our current "leaders" would do well to pay special attention to that last line.
By the way, if any of our readers happen to come upon any of the stolen Russian MANPADS, we've been asked to ask you to call 202-555-6677 (202-555-OOPS). O.k., that's a joke. Don't call the number. Sorry, it's a defense mechanism. We're using humor to mask our anger and righteous indignation over this very unfortunate military and intelligence clusterfuck.
Company Contact Info:
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems:
Amherst Systems: 716-631-0610
Laser Systems: 407-295-4010
Navigation Systems Division: In North America, call 1-866-NGNAVSYS; worldwide, dial 1-818-715-2470.
KB Mashynostroyeniya (KBM)
Address: 42, Oksky avenue,
Kolomna, Moscow region, 140402 Russia
Fax: +7- 496-613-30-64
Officer on duty: +7-496-616-34-68
Deputy Technical Director on general issues.
Chief of Department for Import, Export of Special Equipment and Services: +7-496-613-32-77 ; +7-496-612-19-44
Personnel Management Service. Secretary: +7-496-616-30-73
Е-mail: [email protected]
© Copyright 2011 DefenseReview.com. All rights reserved. This content/material may not be republished, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without first receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links.