Blast from the past, or how Russian loans to the DDR yield dividends

Back when East Germany, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, was fielding a huge “people’s army,” the Nationale Volksarmee, as part of the Warsaw Pact goal of liberating the West from imperialism and capitalism, the Russians Soviets were big on making sure everyone was on the same page.

This included MANPADs systems.

Soviet soldier instructing his east german comrade on how to operate a 9K32 Strela-2 (NATO: SA-7 Grail) surface-to-air missile.

East German 9K32 Strela-2 surface-to-air missile system.

Well, although the Soviet Union went away, the DDR fell apart and the “Ozis” are now part of the old decadent West Germany (now without the directional distinction), an increasingly awake government in Berlin has decided one of the best things it can do is pass on 2,700 Cold War vintage 9K32 Strela-2s to its newfound allies in Ukraine.

As the missiles aren’t part of NATO stocks, the Germans essentially just see it as sending the items back to where they came from after borrowing them since the 1970s.

Of course, most of them probably don’t/won’t work, especially against Russian tactical air, but they could likely spoil the attacks (and flight suits) of low-hour VKS pilots flying low close-support missions as long as they at least light off. Regardless, they could likely prove dangerous to Mi-17 and Mi-26 slicks, particularly if used en masse.

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