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Fast and Furious Expanded


MANPADS: Weaponry Progression and the Changing Face of Narco Warfare

Chinese made FN-6 MANPAD

Chinese made FN-6 MANPAD. Image:

, reposted on May 2, 2016
[Byline Lucio with C.E. Martinez with material from SWJ by Dr. Robert Bunker]

In December 23, 2012, Chivis interviewed Dr. Bunker of Small Wars Journal about Mexican cartel weaponry employment patterns, and what the future of narco weaponry may look like. The use of 50 cal. sniper rifles was discussed in the interview. Chivis asked Dr. Bunker what he thought the next progression weapon might be. He answered, “50 cal”, at the time there had been rumors of its use but unconfirmed and no photo evidence. The title of the post is, ‘The Changing Mexican Drug War Brings New Challenges”.

From the December 2012;

“Watching the ever evolving cache of weapons lingering at the aftermath of shootouts, I wondered what they represented in the changing war.

I immediately thought of Dr. Robert Bunker as a go to person for answering some of the questions of narco tactical and weapon advances focusing on MANPADS and other weapon… link here to read interview”

Two months later February, 2013

Then In Monterrey, N.L. two months later, State Police Chief, Gustavo Gerardo Garza Saucedo, was executed in the  early morning by a sniper using a .50 caliber rifle, 20 kilometers northwest of the capital, reported by the Prosecutor of Nuevo Leon.

From Dr. Bunker at the time: 

“The standoff range was reported to be 60 meters which is about 66 yards away. This is the distance where a tripod (e.g. tripié del fusil—this is likely in error as a bipod would typically be utilized— but it was left behind so the stabilization device is in question) was found abandoned along with a shell casing—which possibly suggests a lower level of training and/or the immediate need to escape and evade pursuers.”  The sniper may have been in a prone firing position as the items were reported found in vacant lot near the Commander’s home. The target was hit in the back with the lot providing a clear line of site to the parking and/or door of the residence”


At the time of the 2012 interview there had not been a cartel hit from a RPG, but that changed in May, 2015 when in a failed attempt to capture El Mencho, leader of CJNG resulted in a deadly RPG attack on a military helicopter. 

In the 2012 interview MANPADS were discussed, an excerpt from that post:

“I immediately thought of Dr. Robert Bunker as a go to person for answering some of the questions of narco tactical and weapon advances focusing on MANPADS and other weapons.           The US Bureau of Political and Military Offices describes MANPADS as follows:
Man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), commonly described as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, are surface-to-air missiles that can be carried and fired by a single individual or carried by several individuals and fired by more than one person acting as a crew.

Most MANPADS consist of: 1) a missile packaged in a tube; 2) a launching mechanism (commonly known as a “gripstock”); and 3) a battery. More modern MANPADS also contain a separate missile ejection motor. The tubes, which protect the missile until it has been fired, are normally disposable.

Rudimentary sights are mounted on the tube. The missiles themselves are usually comprised of a flight motor, a warhead, a control section and a guidance section that directs the missile toward the targeted aircraft. A single-use battery is typically used to power the missile prior to launch. MANPADS launch tubes typically range from about 4 feet to 6 1/2 feet (1.2 to 2 meters) in length and are about 3 inches (72 millimeters) in diameter. Their weight, with launcher, ranges from about 28 pounds to just over 55 pounds (13 to 25 kilograms). They are easy to transport and conceal.”


Following the progression, on April 22, 2016, Texcoco posted and translated an article on Borderland Beat titled,  “Tigers,weapons, and cars seized from La Linea in Chihuahua.”

An excerpt:

“Wounded criminals, criminals killed by police, six detainees, powerful missile launchers, Barret rifles, thousands of bullets, more than 20 stolen vehicles, drugs, tactical gear, cash and exotic animals were seized by the General Office of Chihuahua during an operation in several points of the city of Nuevo Casas Grandes.  Under the operation “For The Safety Of Casas Grandes” agents of the Attorney General seized powerful weapons such as rocket launchers, Barret rifles, over a thousand 300 cartridges, lots of tactical equipment, vehicles reported as stolen including modern sports cars, drugs and exotic animals, in addition to the arrest of six subjects, a cell belonging to organized crime…”

This included  Redeye MANPADS in the possession of armed personnel belonging to La Linea.

Dr. Bunker and Chivis could not know how timely the 2012 article would turn out to be. Dr Bunker has published his analysis of the discovery of MANPADS, that will be posted on Borderland Beat tomorrow.

See Also

Part 2: Narco Warfare Progression-50 Cal-RPGs-MANPADS


27 Lawmakers Warn Obama Against Transferring MANPADS to Syrian Rebels


Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #28: Redeye MANPADS Seized from La Linea in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua


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