Air Defense: July 7, 2002


The Pentagon is giving a big "ho hum" to the recent attempt by an al Qaeda operative to fire an SA-7 missile at a US plane taking off from Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. The missile did not hit its target, and the untrained gunner panicked and fled after hiding his second missile. While the Saudis are "tracking down" the terrorist, the US has no real confidence that anyone they find will be the right man or that any information resulting from his torture will be handed over. The SA-7 is an old and ineffective missile, available from several manufacturer's around the world. If a terrorist could get the new SA-16 or SA-18, the US would have concern for the safety of its aircraft.--Stephen V Cole


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