Sources loyal to the National Libyan Army (LNA) released on April 17 several photos showing a Chinese-made FN-6 man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD), which had beenallegedly captured from forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) during clashes in Tripoli’s outskirts.
The FN-6 MANPAD has a maximum firing range of 6km. Its missile has a maximum speed of 360 m/s when flying head-on. The missile is equipped with infrared homing seeker with fire-and-forget feature.
This type of missiles was not in service with the former Libyan military. Experts believe that it was supplied to GNA forces by Qatar or Sudan, the only two Arab states which have in service missiles of this type. The two states supplied FN-6 MANPADs to militants in Syria in the early years of the conflict there.
Babak Taghvaee, an Iranian defense analyst, claimed few days ago that forces loyal to the GNA used a FN-6 MANPADs to shoot down a MiG-21 fighter jet of the Libyan Air Force (LNA) on April 14. The photos released today supports Taghvaee’s claims.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the LNA, accused Qatar of supplying this type of MANPADs to GNA forces and even to radical groups in the country during an interview with the Egyptian ON TV two years ago. The spokesman said that FN-6 missiles were used not only against LNA warplanes, but even against Egyptian warplanes, which were targeting ISIS positions in Libya back then.
These MANPADs pose a serious threat to security and stability in northern Africa. The missiles supplied to Syrian militants already found its way to ISIS and reached nearby Iraq and Lebanon.