Murphy's Law: Missile Chic In Oz


September 5, 2012: Police in the Australian city of Adelaide raided the house of a man suspected of having illegal weapons (nearly all firearms are illegal in Australia). Some forbidden stuff was found but the reason this particular raid made the news was the fact that an air-to-air missile was among the items found. It's unclear if this was illegal because the American AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile was disarmed and, well, harmless. It was apparently a training missile. These are carried by jet fighters for training missions and are similar to the real thing only in terms of shape and weight. This means 3 meters (9.3 feet) long and weight of up to 87 kg (191 pounds), depending on model. In the United States it is not illegal to own "inert" shells, bombs, missiles, or even grenades. This is not the case in many other countries.

Over 110,000 Sidewinder missiles have been built since the 1950s, and over 80 percent were never fired. Over 10,000 inert training missiles were built as well and many of those became obsolete (and subject to being sold off as military surplus) because new models of Sidewinder appeared with a slightly different shape and weight. Plenty of these inert missiles are out there for collectors or daring interior decorators who want them. Indeed, the police may have raided the home of one such avant-garde decorator who was storing decorative items at his suburban home. Then again, maybe not, as the police have not released any additional information more than a week after the raid.




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