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MANPADS or Man-portable air-defense system is the name used to refer to either the U.S. built TOW and Stinger series of shoulder fired missile, or the Soviet-era and modern Russian built SAM surface-to-air shoulder fired missile. All are capable of shooting down commercial and military aircraft with a heat seeking missiles.

Many MANPADS manufactured during the Cold War have an extremely long shelf-life of decades, and are fully operational given proper storage conditions.

During the effort by rebels to oust the United States' War on Terror ally,[1] Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, more than 20,000 Soviet-constructed MANPADS went unaccounted for and fell into the hands of radical Islamic terrorist groups, and remain unaccounted for.[2] Amb. Christopher Stevens was put in charge of the covert operation to locate and buy back unaccounted MANPADS at the time of the Benghazi massacre.