Russians Deliver MANPADs To Hezbollah?

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On December 4, the Lebanese al-Manar TV aired footage showing fighters of Hezbollah armed with man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs). The video was aired as a part of “the Secrets of the Second Liberation,” a series documenting Hezbollah’s battles against terrorist groups in Syria.

Severeal media outlets and ‘experts’ claimed that the MANPADs seen with Hezbollah was a 9K333 Verba, Russia’s state-of-the-art portable air-defense system. In 2017, Russia equipped its troops in Syria with Verba MANPADs to address the threat of mini armed drones. However, the system was not exported to the Syrian Arab Army. Armenia is the only known customer of the advanced system.

In fact, the MANPADs seen with Hezbollah fighters in al-Manar’s footage appears to be the 9K310 Igla-1, a capable portable anti-aircraft missile produced by the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Hezbollah likely received this system from Syria.

Russians Deliver MANPADs To Hezbollah?

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Hezbollah’s Igla-1 was equipped with a thermal sight that looks like those of the 9K333 Verba. However, the sight’s design was different from the 1PN97M “Maugli-2M” used on the original Verba system. Hezbollah’s thermal sight was larger and round-shaped, like the Iranian-made RU9G\RU120G sights.

Another MANPADs that was seen with Hezbollah’s fighters in al-Manar’s series was the Misagh-2, an Iranian copy of China’s QW-1 Vanguard. The MANPADs was also equipped with a thermal sight.

Russians Deliver MANPADs To Hezbollah?

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Hezbollah’s possession of MANPADs is an open secret. Israel believes that the Lebanese group developed its air-defense capabilities in the last few years by acquiring medium-range systems from Syria and Iran. This is yet to be proven.

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