A cargo package bound for Portland suddenly became the sole focus of Serbian aviation authorities when a bomb-sniffing dog indicated that there was a suspicious substance onboard the flight, which originated in Lebanon. What cause the dog to act the way he did? Two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, complete with explosive warheads attached.
Yeah, because that’s the kind of thing everyone ships to their friends back in the United States.
The American-made Hellfire missile can be fired from air, sea, or ground platforms against multiple targets. They are also the same weapon loaded on-board Predator drones, used so effectively in the American War on Terror.
Serbian state news reports that the missiles were packed in wooden coffins and unloaded at the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, where they were located by bomb-sniffing canines.
AGM-114 model Hellfire missiles are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrup Grumman. Each weighs about 100 pounds and retails for $110,000.
FBI officials in Portland say they are now investigation the reports, but added:
‘We don’t have any information on that yet.’
In case you were wondering, here’s the kind of massive and complete destruction that can be inflicted with a Hellfire AGM-114:
The perfect thing for a Fourth of July celebration at home, huh?
For their part, Air Serbia released a statement in which they commented:
‘We can confirm that a cargo consignment, being carried to an onward destination, was intercepted at Belgrade Airport earlier today as a result of stringent security screening measures. The airline is assisting with the investigation. Safety and security is Air Serbia’s number one priority.’
And what could be safer than having your own Hellfire missiles just in case you run into some bad guys on your way across Europe?
As it turns out, the missiles belong to the Lebanese Army, and they are trying to assure everyone they were merely used for training and did not contain any explosives. Which still makes you wonder: Why put missiles, even unarmed ones, on a flight to the United States? Again, Lebanese officials say the missiles were being sent to the American company that produced them. It added that the return was in accordance “with administrative and legal measures after the training ended.”
Well, that certainly makes us all feel better, doesn’t it? Uh, not really, no.