Hamas bought ‘Stingers’ for Gaza op, never got to use them

Posted: May 17, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Cast Lead, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel, Terrorism, War

Staff Sgt. Tony L. Moore, Alpha Battery section leader with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, coaches a 2nd LAAD Marine as they fire off a Stinger missile Sept. 13 at Onslow Beach on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.   Photo by: Cpl. Adam F. Testagrossa

I DISCOVERED AN interesting post at The Muqata blog, telling the story of Hamas purchasing US-made Stinger Anti-Aircraft missiles, in order to shoot down IAF helicopters in Gazan skies.

According to World Tribune article cited by the blog, Raytheon – the developer and producer of the AA shoulder-held missile – installed an friendly-fire safeguard, disallowing attack on any aircraft in US Army’s arsenal. As Israeli Air Force uses primarily US-made helicopters, those were also protected from attacks by the Stinger. When attempted, the rocket launcher flashed the “Friendly Aircraft” message, and averted the shell, incidentally hitting a Hamas gunner squad:

“We were disappointed by them, and they were found to have been useless,” a Hamas source said.

The source said Hamas smuggled four Stinger systems in 2008. The source said the Hamas military deployed the Stingers against Israel Air Force AH-64 Apache attack helicopters during strike missions in the northern Gaza Strip.

“Our gunners couldn’t fire the weapon,” the source recalled. “A notice came up on the display saying ‘friendly aircraft.'”

Industry sources said Raytheon, producer of Stinger, installed identification friend/foe capabilities more than a decade ago. The sources said this would prevent Stinger from being fired against any aircraft used by the U.S. military.

Another Hamas source said gunners deployed Stinger along with heavy machine guns in attacks on Israeli helicopters during the war in the Gaza Strip. The source said one Stinger surface-to-air missile was launched, but the projectile veered off course and struck a Hamas gunner squad.

“The Stinger was drawn by the heat of our guns rather than the engines of the Israeli helicopters,” the source said. “At that point, we stopped using this weapon.”

A punishment from God, not less.

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