"The Pentagon is investigating whether new, more deadly versions of Russian missiles may be in the hands of Iraqi insurgents, possibly enabling them to shoot down U.S. Army helicopters and threaten other aircraft," the Boston Globe reports.

U.S. military officials thought they were well prepared for the variety of shoulder-fired missiles utilized by Saddam Hussein's forces, mainly missiles manufactured in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. For years American intelligence officials gathered technical information on a variety of portable Russian missiles - including the SA-7, SA-14, SA-16, and SA-18 - in order to develop countermeasures, such as electronic jamming equipment and decoy flares.But missile components and other weapon systems uncovered by US forces in Iraq have fueled suspicions that insurgents may have obtained more advanced weapons, not previously known to US intelligence, that can confuse helicopters' electronic defenses or overcome attempts to send them off course, the officials said.Nine helicopters have been lost to enemy missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire - costing the lives of 32 soldiers - since the US-led invasion last March. Several airplanes flying into Baghdad International Airport have also been hit by missiles, but managed to land safely.
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