Live Hellfire Missiles Headed To U.S. On Passenger Flight — Serbia Finds Bizarre Cargo Package On Plane Containing Two Missiles With Explosive Warheads

Serbia discovered two live Hellfire missiles on a flight that was headed to the U.S. The authorities are investigating reports that a cargo package bound to the United States was found to contain missiles with explosive warheads.

Serbia’s authorities are baffled by the reports about a cargo package bound for the U.S., that was found to contain two missiles with explosive warheads. The live missiles, with tips that were in deployable condition, were found on a passenger flight from Lebanon to Serbia. N1 television confirmed that the missiles were discovered wrapped in wooden crates, reported NZ Herald. A sniffer dog raised an alarm about the contents. Upon opening the same, authorities were baffled to discover a couple of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles with active warheads.

The Hellfire missiles were found in a package that was most likely placed in the cargo hold of the plane. It was a routine Air Serbia flight from Beirut that had landed at Belgrade airport. Serbian media further added that the final destination of the active missiles, with active warheads, was Portland, Oregon. The authorities were able to find the final destination after going through the documents that were filed for the mysterious package.

Jennifer Adams, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Portland division, corroborated the reports about the discovery of two Hellfire missiles aboard a passenger flight. However, she added that she has no further information to release.

“The FBI is aware of the report and is looking into it. No further information is available at this time.”

How did two live missiles end up on a Serbia flight? The Serbian state news agency Tanjug reported that the missiles had been packed in wooden crates. Ominously, these wooden enclosures looked like coffins. However, the crates’ outward appearance did not offer any clue about the dangerous contents they were holding.

Nonetheless, these crates were unloaded under supervision at the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Not taking any chances with such suspicious cargo, bomb-sniffing dogs were called to confirm if the crates were dangerous or not. The dogs indicated that the packages were, in fact, carrying some sort of explosives.

Specially trained dogs are able to intimate through behavior, about the suspicious character of a package. Upon receiving confirmation, either a robot or a human carefully examines the package with special equipment to reconfirm. Protocol usually requires such suspicious packages to be moved to a safe distance away from civilians.

The Hellfire missiles are one of the most versatile weapons in existence today. The American-made projectiles can be fired from air, sea, or ground platforms, reported KOIN 6. Originally designed as an air-to-surface missile, they were meant to be strapped on and fired from a helicopter. Considering their original design, they were called Helicopter Launched, Fire and Forget Missile, which was later abbreviated to Hellfire. The AGM-114 model is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrup Grumman, reported Oregon Live. Weighing just about 100 pounds, each missile costs about $110,000. While most modern-day versions rely on laser to zero-in on their target, a few are known to depend on old-fashioned radar. These miniature missiles can easily take out a large car or a tank. These missiles have been extensively used in Operation: Enduring Freedom and Operation: Iraqi Freedom.

Quite recently, a dummy training missile that had been accidentally sent to Cuba in 2014 was returned to the United States, reported the Wall Street Journal. Hence this won’t be the first time that Hellfire missiles have been found where they aren’t supposed to be in the first place.

Given the fact that the sale of over 5,000 Hellfire missiles to the Iraqi government to aid in its fight against the Islamic State group was approved, a lot of these are out there, reported Huffington Post.

Air Serbia has confirmed that it is cooperating in the investigation. While sharing the news about the missiles onboard one of its passenger flight to the U.S., the Serbian carrier noted that “security and safety are the main priorities for Air Serbia,” reported ABC News.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]