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Conventional weapons and missiles

Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS)


MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defence Systems) are lightweight anti-aircraft weapons. They are designed to protect soldiers from aerial attack and are most effective when deployed against low flying or slow aircraft.

The same characteristics that make MANPADS suitable for battlefield use by soldiers also make them attractive to terrorist groups and insurgents. Since their inception in the 1960s, MANPADS have been used in more than forty terrorist attacks against civilian aircraft and have been employed as effective weapons of asymmetrical warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Australia's Approach to MANPADS

MANPADS in the hands of non-state actors represent a significant threat to aviation security, especially to civilian aircraft.

In 2005 Australia launched an international diplomatic initiative to encourage governments to implement effective controls over the manufacture, storage, and transfer of MANPADS equipment and technology. Our initiative also urges governments to take effective measures to prevent illicit transfers to non-state actors.

Australia has been successful in advocating the inclusion of MANPADS and similar light weapons in the control lists under the Wassenaar Arrangement and has been advocating for the inclusion of such weapons in a future Arms Trade Treaty.


Last Updated: 7 December 2012
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