L-122 Rev Defence Against Terrorism: Identification of the Most Credible Terrorist Standoff Weapons

April 2006
Frédéric Peugeot (Warhead Technology) , Sjoerd P.J. de Bruijn (Royal Netherlands Military Academy)

Terrorism has already been identified as one of the risks affecting NATOs security by the Alliances April 1999 Strategic Concept. After the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US, the NATO Military Authorities developed the Alliances Military Concept for Defence Against Terrorism, with political guidance from the North Atlantic Council. The concept was endorsed by Allied leaders at the Prague Summit on 21 November 2002.

Following the 28-29 June 2004 Istanbul Summit, NATO leaders approved an enhanced set of measures to strengthen the Alliances contribution to the fight against terrorism. Reducing vulnerability of wide body civilian and military aircraft to man-portable air defence systems and reducing vulnerability of helicopters to rocket propelled grenades are two areas that have been identified by the Alliance.

As a first step in counter-terrorism and intelligence issues, and in order to define as much as possible the threat posed by standoff weapons used by terrorists, such as Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG), Light Anti-Tank Weapons (LAW) and Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), the availability, cost, lethality, portability and durability of such systems are reviewed. The Stand-off Weapons Database (SWEAP V1.0) is currently being created to support this assessment. In this database, available only to MSIAC nations, 160 RPG and LAW and 64 MANPADS systems are identified and detailed information, when available, is provided.

The most credible standoff weapon terrorist threats identified are the RPG-7 for RPG and LAW systems and the SA-7b (Strela-2M) for MANPADS. Detailed information about these systems is provided.