ISIS Is Working on a Surface-to-Air Missile: Report
Policy + Politics

ISIS Is Working on a Surface-to-Air Missile: Report

IHS Janes

Islamic militants are reportedly trying to re-engineer air-to-air missiles used by fighter jets into missiles that can hit aircraft from the ground.

Footage obtained by Britain’s Sky News shows ISIS fighters attempting to turn an air-to-air missile into a surface-to-air (SAM) system.

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While the entire missile is not shown in the video, part of it appears to be from an AIM-9 Sidewinder. The supersonic, heat-seeking missile, first produced in 1953, weighs about 200 pounds and can reach distances of up to 22 miles, according to U.S. Air Force fact sheet.

However, given that Cyrillic writing is seen on one of its control surfaces, the missile is likely an R-13M, the Soviet knockoff of the Sidewinder, according to the experts at Jane’s.

How the terror group came into possession of the weapon remains unknown, but rebel forces may have captured the missile from one of a number of Syrian Air Force bases that have been overrun.

Whether jihadists will succeed in re-engineering the missile, with its complicated systems and parts, including a thermal battery that helps with target detection, remains to be seen.

Related: 14 Deadly Weapons Russia Has Sent To Syria

Besides the improvised SAM, the footage shows ISIS engineers attempting a number of other technical feats, including creating a driverless car bomb that uses mannequins to fool security checkpoints.

The efforts suggest the extremist network is looking for new and unconventional ways to spread terror around the globe.