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Mike Wasdin (via thinksquad)
Improvised (& Rechargeable) Batteries for SA-7 MANPADS
On the NYT, a report on the development among Syrian rebels of locally made and reusable batteries for the old SA-7 heat-seeking antiaircraft missile system, known as a “Strela” or “Arrow” in Russian.
Improvised batteries are a potentially significant development, with implications not just in the air-defense war over rebel-held ground in Syria but also for civilian aviation. Quick background:
A weapon of a class often colloquially called Stingers, as the best-known American model is known, Strelas have for decades been the most commonly seen antiaircraft missiles among rebel and terrorist groups. But the limited availability and short life span of their batteries, which are attached to the exterior of the tube that contains the missile, has meant that nonstate groups often struggle with power supply, posing limits on the Strela’s use.
But that limit could fade away, and old stocks of missiles out of state control could become useful anew, if improvised batteries are developed at any scale.
Matthew Schroeder, a missile proliferation analyst at Small Arms Survey, an independent research project based in Geneva, said the design was “extremely worrisome.”
Strelas have appeared in conflicts since the Vietnam War. Untold numbers were stolen from Libya’s arsenals during the uprising that deposed Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. They have recently been documented in Syria and eastern Ukraine, where a shoulder-fired missile was believed to have hit a Ukrainian military transport plane near Luhansk in June, killing 49 troops.
“If these devices proliferate,” Mr. Schroeder said of the improvised batteries, “black-market missiles that are currently unusable because their batteries are dead could become operational again, with potentially devastating consequences.”
We have many more details than the NYT could publish this morning, due to space constraints, and will post them here or on the At War blog next week. (Busy today: onion and garlic harvest is on, there are posts to set for a new three-sided shed, and fish to haul tonight out on the rips. Time to switch off the Internet, and live.)
ABOUT THE IMAGES
Top, first generation of improvised battery designed by Major Abu al-Baraa, who is shown, below, with the second generation, which he fielded this week in northern Syria. Courtesy of Major Abu al-Baraa.
This is the coolest shit I have ever seen, oh my god
The Monument to the Martyrs in Damascus by Abdo Kass-Khout in 1985. It was built to remember those fallen for Syria. Inside, it contains a large atrium that is sunken into the ground, recalling a crypt. The dome represents heaven as understood by the ancient cultures of the Levant featured in the Quran and the Bible. It was thought that the sky was a cupola of water held up by great pillars over earth that separated us from heaven. This, combined with Arab architectural features, helps to define the Syrian identity and demonstrates their complex and historical heritage.
Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk #82-0806 - The Only F-117 Ever Shot Down by Enemy Fire
Lt. Col. Dale Zelko was flying his F-117A Nighthawk over Serbia during Operation Allied Force. He was hit by a Yugoslav Army SA-3 “Goa” (Soviet name S-125 “Neva”) surface-to-air missile, fired when the aircraft was detected while its bomb bay doors were open. Zelko ejected safely, and was recovered by Air Force CSAR forces the next morning.
Remains of the aircraft can be seen in the Serbian Museum of Aviation in Belgrade (Photo #5). Rumors that Russian and Chinese scientists were allowed to examine the remains persist to this day.
Eye-Stone of King Hammurabi of Babylon
This eye-stone made from agate bears a short inscription dedicated to the god Šamaš by King Hammurabi (reigned 1792-1750 BCE), whose name appears in the third line. Hammurabi is best known for his Law Code, found at Susa and now housed in the Louvre Museum, which is the earliest known complete collection of laws in history. Šamaš is the Akkadian name of the god of the sun and of justice. (Source)
Old Babylonian, 18th-19th century BCE.