We reported of the capture last year of several jets by ISIS but didn’t hear much about it afterwards. Here you have it…ISIS got some top of the line simulators and they’re training for an air war. We’re not surprised by this but just surprised it took so long…
Late last year we began hearing rumors that ISIS had captured some Syrian fighter jets and even wilder stories of how they were training some of their fighters in Russian made planes. At the time I found myself taking such reports with a grain of salt.
Mounting an air war of any significant power takes a lot more than rounding up some fanatics, handing out rifles and loading up a bunch of Toyota pickup trucks. Maintenance of a fleet of modern jets is expensive and technically complex, not to mention needing an air base to launch them from. (Those are rather hard to hide from satellites.) And even if you manage all of that, you still need pilots capable of manning them. Where do a bunch of terrorists learn to fly and operate a vehicle that sophisticated? Or even a commercial jet liner?
The Daily Caller has a chilling answer to that question. The terrorists may have gotten their hands on some top of the line simulators:
Islamic State militants in Libya are learning how to fly commercial jets in large simulators imported from abroad, according to reports from Arabic media.
ISIS is reportedly training pilots in the Libyan city Sirte using large and comprehensive flight simulators, Libyan officials told an Arabic daily Wednesday according to Ynetnews. ISIS has an estimated 3,000 fighters in Libya and has controlled Sirte for several months.
“The simulator is about as large as a small car, and simulates every facet of flight including air-to-ground communications,” the sources said. A group of ISIS commanders reportedly obtained the simulator in October and have at least one other simulator, which they are using to train fighter pilots.
If ISIS strengthens its hold in Sirte, it could gain direct access to the Mediterranean and southern Europe.
Read more: Hot Air