|"Thank you CIA for my new weapons."|
Yes, We Are Totally Screwed
- This article wrings it hands about the "evil" Russians spreading antiaircraft weapons around the world. While interesting it somehow forgets to mention that everyone from the U.S. to Britain to Israel are making mountains of cash by pumping weapons into war zones all over the world.
(Business Insider) - One of Russia's most alarming new weapons capabilities may be on the move soon.
Jane's reports that KBM, a state-owned armament company specializing in missile systems, recently presented its 9K333 Verba man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS).
At an arms fair this week, the company announced that the weapon had been cleared for export — although KBM designer Gen. Velariy Kashin would not reveal the foreign buyer or buyers.
Kashin described the 9K333 Verba as "the most capable" MANPADS ever developed, according to Jane's. Missiles are guided to their targets using a "three-channel optical seeker, which operates in the ultraviolet, near-infrared, and mid-infrared wavelengths," a feature that increases the weapon's accuracy and speeds up its target acquisition.
As Armament Research Services explains, the 9K333's targeting system is specially built to fool its targets' anti-missile systems: Because the warhead contains three infrared sensors that are constantly cross-checking against one another, it is "even harder for a target aircraft to disrupt the system using decoys." The missiles' "seeker" also allows projectiles to better distinguish between aircraft and heat pockets that might throw off a less advanced weapon's targeting system.
The 9K333 can strike aircraft at up to 13,500 feet.
The 9K38 Igla, a somewhat comparable system, only weighs about 27 pounds, making the 9K333 is an incredibly lightweight, mobile, and user-friendly tool for shooting planes out of the sky.
The 9K333's first export license is a potentially ominous development. Small-arms proliferation isn't quite as galvanizing an issue as, say, the possible spread of nuclear weapons.
But while a nuclear warhead hasn't been detonated for offensive purposes since 1945, MANPADS are one of the most democratizing weapons ever made, spreading antiaircraft capabilities to armies and militia groups around the world.
There are scores of irregular forces and terrorist groups that would love to get their hands on something like the 9K333, and that could use it to wreak havoc on US or allied targets.
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