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Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:48 am
by PlaneHunter
After the recent developments in Ukraine, I'm wondering about possible threats to airliners overflying Iraq and Syria. It's already known that ISIS terrorists have captured all kinds of equipment - but what if they can get their hands on advanced anti-aircraft systems such as SA-10s operated by the Syrian military? What if operating crews switch sides?

And what about Pakistan - how high is the risk of anti-aircraft systems getting captured by the Taliban in certain areas?

Maybe someone can shed light on that issue.


PH

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:15 am
by IndianicWorld
One would think that it is quite possible that many of these weapons could have made their way, or could be on the way to such groups at some stage.

That is a huge threat to aviation, especially as it would leave so many air routes in danger of being blocked off. If you were to put a no-fly zone across parts of Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and whatever other trouble spots that may come up, it would cause some real risks of limiting Europe-Asian routes.

One would hope such madness would not prevail, but its something that must now be considered a big challenge for aviation in coming years.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:25 am
by hibtastic
I was also thinking about this when I was flying over Iraq on my way to DOH with QR last week. Its a very serious situation and one wonders if what happened to MH17 will have given these lunatics in Iraq any ideas...

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:49 am
by FlySSC
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):

No airline is flying over Syria, except M. E. A

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:15 am
by FlyDeltaJets
This will not happen again, not for a while at least. IS nor any other nation wouldn't take the chance as the western powers would likely clamp down hard on them.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:24 am
by AirIndia
I feel it is important what the outcome of this investigation is and based on that whats the action taken by relevant governments against the guilty, which may deter future possible scenarios. i am sure all terror groups will see the outcome of this and will not want to unsettle the western world or the asian giants....

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:06 am
by AlexA340B777
Sq seems to avoid Iraqui airspace now following the MH17 event...

flight trackers showing all Sq flights now turning left flying above Saudi Arabia, then passing south of Israel, entering Europe via Greece...


Alex

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:00 am
by peterinlisbon
I don't think anyone is stupid enough to sell or give the Iraqi terrorists such advanced missile systems. These things are not easy to obtain or even operate. They're the size of a tank, and there is no reason to think they would ever be able to obtain them. Its not the same as in Eastern Ukraine, where most of the so-called rebels are really just covert Russian army forces that have taken off their name badges equipped with all of the latest Russian technology.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:54 am
by PlaneHunter
Quoting FlySSC (Reply 3):
No airline is flying over Syria, except M. E. A

Plus Syrian Arab Airlines. Both may be regarded as proper targets by terrorists.

Quoting peterinlisbon (Reply 7):
I don't think anyone is stupid enough to sell or give the Iraqi terrorists such advanced missile systems. These things are not easy to obtain or even operate. They're the size of a tank, and there is no reason to think they would ever be able to obtain them.

I'm talking about ISIS, active in Iraq and Syria, which has already captured numerous military vehicles, including all kinds of thanks.


PH

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:47 pm
by trex8
Quoting AlexA340B777 (Reply 6):


Sq seems to avoid Iraqui airspace now following the MH17 event...

flight trackers showing all Sq flights now turning left flying above Saudi Arabia, then passing south of Israel, entering Europe

Flying close to Gaza when Hamas have launched a thousand missiles into Israel is safer than flying over Iraq or Afghanistan???????

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:51 pm
by PlaneHunter
Quoting trex8 (Reply 9):
Flying close to Gaza when Hamas have launched a thousand missiles into Israel is safer than flying over Iraq or Afghanistan???????

Those Hamas missiles cannot be compared to dedicated anti-aircraft systems.


PH

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:57 pm
by trex8
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):



Quoting trex8 (Reply 9):
Flying close to Gaza when Hamas have launched a thousand missiles into Israel is safer than flying over Iraq or Afghanistan???????

Those Hamas missiles cannot be compared to dedicated anti-aircraft systems.



True but there's all those IDF planes flying around and they don't have a good track record of worrying about niceties like innocent civilian planes eg the Libyan Arab one or even ships eg USS Liberty

They are all war zones!

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:01 pm
by PlaneHunter
Quoting trex8 (Reply 11):
True but there's all those IDF planes flying around and they don't have a good track record of worrying about niceties like innocent civilian planes eg the Libyan Arab one or even ships eg USS Liberty

They are all war zones!

Increased military traffic may indeed be a problem.

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 3):
No airline is flying over Syria, except M. E. A

Juts found out that MH3 did so today:

http://www.flightradar24.com/MAS4/3dbdafe


PH

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:19 pm
by trex8
Seems to me we have to go back to the 70s and fly from Europe to east Asia via ANC again!!!!

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:00 pm
by DALFA
If you look at flightradar24 now and zoom in to Iraq, you will see that many widebodies of the ME3 towards the UAE are pretty much flying in a straight line over Mosul. This is the second biggest city of the country that is ruled by ISIS and where the last Christians were chased away this weekend (they either had to convert to islam or pay a religious tax in order not to get killed).

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:03 pm
by awthompson
Unless some airlines have started to avoid Iraq after MH17, as some above have suggested, the Iraq corridor was one of the busiest, if not the busiest in the world at least in terms of daily passenger numbers. I believe airway L602 northbound, at least the portion between TASMI and ITBIT and the continuation of the traffic route northbound passing just east of Baghdad, and the accompanying southbound airway P975 just east of the northbound airway were recently the busiest airways in the world in terms of daily passenger numbers.

The following screen shot gives an idea:

Busy Gulf Air Routes


Patchy coverage however leaves some spaces in the screen shot but when I took it a few weeks ago, I can assure you that those spaces were full of aircraft. If you study these routes, you will also notice that the majority of the aircraft are wide bodies, indeed many A380s. I know of no other airway in the world that even comes close. Routes over the North Atlantic with high proportions of wide bodies vary daily so no one airway can compete. The only other airways busy with high percentages of wide body traffic are some of the airways to the east of China feeding traffic out of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and the likes up the western pacific seaboard towards Taiwan, Korea, Japan and onwards to the USA and in the other direction at a different time of day.

Ever since I started watching Iraq on flight radar a few months ago, I have had safety worries also.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:08 pm
by B777LRF
The main danger overflying Iraq (and Afghanistan for that matter) is not the risk of SAM, but MANPAD. There is no evidence to suggest any of the nasties in either place have gotten their hands on a SAM system, which is also a pretty hard thing to come by, which makes the prospect of flying over at 30.000+ feet seem like low-risk operation. However, the problems arise if you have some sort of emergency forcing an emergency descent and, if it's really bad, landing at closest suitable airfield. The prospect of having to overfly Northern Iraq at 10.000ft is not nearly as cosy, and it gets downright frightening thinking about what could happen if e.g. LH finds itself stranded in Erbil with a broken 747 full of passengers.

All this is well known to the airlines, but just like in Ukraine they chose not to do anything about it as it will have negative economical consequences. That is, until the worst thing imaginable happens; this business has always excelled of shutting the barn door loudly and firmly, but only long after the horses have bolted.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:12 pm
by awthompson
DALFA Indeed here you are, taken a few minutes ago. (My screen shot in my earlier post was taken in the early hours (UTC) when both directions are busy, right now its just southbound).

Busy Gulf southbound


Those are all wide bodies with at least four A380s.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:19 pm
by DALFA
In my opinion it would make a lot of sense to shift that route a bit to the east in order to avoid northern Iraqi airspace, the part that is controlled by IS(IS). However, have no clue what the economical consequences of such a detour are for an airline...

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:36 pm
by meta
I find it interesting that almost all non-Russian airlines have decided to avoid all Ukrainian airspace, but LY614 and LY561 are going right through Ukraine.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:48 pm
by Rara
Quoting meta (Reply 19):

I find it interesting that almost all non-Russian airlines have decided to avoid all Ukrainian airspace, but LY614 and LY561 are going right through Ukraine.

They are equipped with anti-missile equipment. Not sure whether it helps against high-altitude missile systems like the BUK though.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:52 pm
by awthompson
DALFA - I don't think it would be a big deal to shift traffic to the east a little and route over Iran, at least in terms of overall route lengths. There may be other issues however with overflying Iran that someone more knowledgeable could tell us.

When I flew Emirates a few years ago from LHR-DXB, we routed over Iran both directions: Orumiyeh, west of Shiraz and then Kish Island southbound, returning to LHR we routed directly over Shiraz, Esfahan, Qom etc and saw the lights of Tehran to our right. It did not seem to be a big deal.

Back then, 2005 in fact, UAE seemed to mostly overfly Iran. It was only more recently that traffic seemed to establish itself over Iraq.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:05 pm
by meta
Quoting Rara (Reply 21):
They are equipped with anti-missile equipment. Not sure whether it helps against high-altitude missile systems like the BUK though.

Interesting! I didn't know this.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:16 pm
by trex8
They are only for defense against IR guided systems which are the commonest shoulder launched systems. They are not for use against radar guided systems like the Buk
http://defense-update.com/20140227_skyshield-dircm-test.html

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:34 pm
by n515cr
There was the DHL A300 that got hit by a missile over Baghdad in 2003: Status Of The DHL A300 That Was Hit By A Missile In Iraq In 2003? (by Smylinpilot Jan 17 2008 in Civil Aviation)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Ba...d_DHL_attempted_shootdown_incident

Very interesting story and an impressive bit of flying by the cockpit crew.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:37 pm
by ua900
Quoting trex8 (Reply 20):
Quoting meta (Reply 19):

I find it interesting that almost all non-Russian airlines have decided to avoid all Ukrainian airspace, but LY614 and LY561 are going right through Ukraine.

That's because if you f... with them the IDF come and do to you what they do to Hamas!

   They don't give a hoot about Russia's posturing. If you go after them they'll kill you. They've through too much in their history to do it any different.

Quoting Rara (Reply 21):
Quoting meta (Reply 19):

They are equipped with anti-missile equipment. Not sure whether it helps against high-altitude missile systems like the BUK though.

They are but it doesn't help against SAMs. The IDF would fix that though. No comparison to the current Ukrainian Air Force.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:21 pm
by b747400erf
Quoting trex8 (Reply 11):

True but there's all those IDF planes flying around and they don't have a good track record of worrying about niceties like innocent civilian planes eg the Libyan Arab one or even ships eg USS Liberty

What would the IDF mistake a civilian airliner for like they did with the ship the Liberty? The Palestinians have no air force.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:34 am
by turjo101
I think a lot of posts here are unintentional fear-mongering. It is not new knowledge that Manpads have been available in Afghanistan, but they're not a threat to aircraft in cruise and therefore no one who's aware of their capabilities are worried.


It is true that ISIS in Iraq/Syria is another story. However, as far as I know the new government of Iraq wasn't given any sophisticated air defence systems, and none are known to be captured. So why would anyone be worried about flying over Iraq?

What are the chances that in the rare event an emergency does occur, some ISIS member is sitting outside Erbil with his SA 7, ready to go?!?


Ukraine was another story to begin with. SAMs were always an issue there. Even before any of this rebellion business...Every time my parents fly to Mid-East/South Asia, I always tune in on FR24 as they cross the Black Sea. Ever since I had read about 'Siberian 1812' being accidentally shot down by Ukrainian air defence close to Crimea, I had always feared something like this from them, more so after political unrest began. Since march, the 3/4 trips my parents took to Dubai always had me worried as their EK flight almost always went over or came very close to Crimea.

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:19 am
by b777a340fan
Quoting FlySSC (Reply 3):
No airline is flying over Syria, except M. E. A

Not true, I flew IST-BOM a month ago (TK 720) and it flies over Syria, Iraq, AND Iran. I definitely think this flight should be re-routed.

[Edited 2014-07-20 20:20:25]

[Edited 2014-07-20 20:20:51]

RE: Possible Missile Threat To Airliners Over Iraq?

Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:16 pm
by ElPistolero
Quoting b777a340fan (Reply 28):

Thought Turkish airlines were banned from Syrian airspace and vice versa?