The most noteworthy transfer in 2009 was the export of 1800 MANPADS to Venezuela.
While the model of the missiles is not specified, they are almost certainly Igla-S (SA-24s) –
Russia’s most advanced MANPADS. Rumors of an Igla-S sale to Venezuela date back at
least to 2008, but no hard proof of the transfer emerged until early 2009, when footage of
the missiles surfaced on You Tube. In April 2010, the head of US Southern Command
provided the first public data on the size of the deal, which was estimated at up to 2,400
Neither party to the transfer had provided information that conveyed a sense of
the size of the deal until now.
The export is the largest MANPADS transfer
recorded in the UN Arms Register in at least
five years. Whether it is the largest
MANPADS transfer in an absolute sense is
unclear since many countries either do not
report to the Register or do not report on the
quantities of systems transferred. Records of
arms exports in other public data sources,
including SIPRI’s expansive Arms Transfers
The transfer is also one of the most controversial. Critics worry that the missiles and other
weapons recently sold to Venezuela will spark a regional arms race or will end up in the
hands of armed groups.
, supports the assumption that the
transfer to Venezuela is one of the largest in