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Georgia to Receive Stinger Air Defence Missiles from the US

By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Thursday, June 21
According to a candidate for the Georgian Defence Minister Levan Izoria, Georgia will receive air defence systems - "Stingers" from the US. Izoria spoke about it at the joint parliamentary session of the committees. According to him, the fact indicates to the support of the United States and the right direction of the policy implemented in the defence sphere.

Stinger is a man-portable air defense system that operates as an infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM). It can be adapted to fire from a wide variety of ground vehicles and helicopters (as an AAM). Developed in the United States, it entered service in 1981 and is used by militaries of the United States as well as by 29 other countries.

Besides Stingers, Georgia has already bought 70 Javelin anti-tank guided missile launch units along with 410 Javelin Missiles. This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of Georgia. The Javelin and Stinger systems will provide Georgia with increased capacity to meet its national defence requirements.

During the August War in 2008, due to the absence of a well-organized air defence system the Russian air force pinpointed easy access areas for bombing the conflict region towns of the de facto Republics. To attain the military goal, the Russian military strategy included combination of massive ground deployments with supporting air and naval operations. The primary military was to establish air and sea supremacy. Perhaps equally important was the objective to prevent Georgian and foreign troop reinforcements. This was achieved by cutting off Georgian ports, roads and railroads, through aerial attacks on reserve units and by rendering Georgian airfields difficult to use.

Despite the fact, that Georgian military arsenal wasn’t equipped with modern air-defence system, Georgian forces managed to down four Russian aircraft according to official statements. Another two have been attributed to Georgian units as well as one friendly fire incident. During some 200 missions Russia’s losses have been estimated to have exceeded 10 aircraft missions in total.

On 8 August, the first day of the war, Russia lost five aircrafts. The early losses more or less put a halt to the Russian air assault on 9 August, and it did not regain pace until the following day. Georgia lacked fighter aircraft as well as a comprehensive and integrated air defence, but despite this managed to impose losses on the Russian air force during the short war. Georgia’s modernized defence system will make it harder and more expensive to use air attack against the country.

The fact that the US continues to equip Georgia with modern defence systems, indicates that that the country remains as an important partner for the new administration of the US. Relations between the two countries deepen gradually. Russian Federation is not happy with such cooperation between the United States and Georgia. In the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, the US was accused of encouraging Tbilisi to new dangerous adventures in the region.