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Factfile: SA-18 missile

SA-19 missile
The SA-18 can be launched from a standing or kneeling position.

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(CNN) -- The SA-18 is a shoulder-fired surface-air heat-seeking missile, designed to shoot down low-level planes and helicopters.

Made in Russia, it is much more advanced and accurate than the SA-7 used in a failed attempt in November 2002 to shoot down an Israeli charter in Kenya.

Aerodynamic improvements give it a better range and speed and its infrared tracking device is designed to avoid decoys.

Each missile weighs about 30 to 40 pounds (13.6 to 18.1 kilograms) and could fit inside a golf bag, counterterrorism expert Brian Jenkins told CNN.

Sources estimate the missile would cost about $100,000 on the open market.

It has a 30-48 percent chance of bringing down an unprotected fighter jet, and infrared jammers only reduce that probability to between 24 and 30 percent.

The missiles were used first by the Soviet military but many entered the black market after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

In November 2002, Russian experts said thousands of SA-18s and similar missiles had been smuggled out of military arsenals during the 1990s, the UK Press Association reported.

• Length: 5 feet 7 inches (1.7 meters)

• Maximum range: 17,000 feet (5,200 meters)

• Maximum altitude: 11,500 feet (3,500 meters)

• Payload: 4.6 pounds (1.27 kilograms) high explosive

• Tracking: Dual-channel passive infrared

• Maximum target engagement speed: 710-900 miles per hour (1,140-1,450 kilometers per hour)

• Deployment time: 13 seconds

Sources: Federation of American Scientists, Jane's


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