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9K38 Igla

The Igla (Игла "Needle") is a Russian/Soviet man-portable surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. Its NATO designation is SA-18 Grouse.

A variant is the Igla-1, which has the NATO designation is SA-16 Gimlet.

The Igla-M (NATO designation SA-N-10 Grouse) is a naval variant.


Igla was a development from the Strela series of missiles in 1983 but with a substantially redesigned missile body to increase range and speed and a new guidance system. It is estimated to offer a probability of kill of 30-48 % against unprotected targets.

The Igla-1 was first introduced in 1986. Although range and altitude maximums are similar to the original, the Igla-1 is considered to be intended for use only against low-altitude and low-speed targets.

Use in alleged plot against Air Force One

On August 12, 2003, as a result of a sting operation arranged as a result of cooperation between the American, British and Russian intelligence agencies, Hemant Lakhani, a British national, was intercepted after bringing an Igla into the USA. He is said to have intended the missile to be used in an attack on Air Force One, the American presidential plane, or on a commercial US airliner, and is understood to have planned to buy 50 more of these weapons.

Allegedly, after the Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti detected the dealer in Russia, he was approached by US undercover agents posing as terrorists wanting to down a commercial plane. He was then provided with a non-working Igla by undercover Russian agents, and arrested in Newark, New Jersey, when making the delivery to the undercover US agent. A Malaysian, Moinuddeen Ahmed Hameed and an American Yehuda Abraham who allegedly provided money to buy the missile were also arrested.