ISIS fighters managed to loot SA-16 man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), Sidewinder missiles, and even MiG-21B fighter jets.
It is extremely unlikely that the militants have the manpower or the expertise to make use of the jets or the Sidewinder missiles. But the MANPADS pose dangers of their own.
SA-16 MANPADS are shoulder-mounted homing missiles that are relatively simple to use. A missile fired from an SA-16 can reach an aircraft flying as high as 16,000 feet. This would put low-flying aircraft and helicopters at risk of being targeted by the jihadists, raising additional challenges for carrying out airstrikes against ISIS.
ISIS relies on looted military equipment from Iraqi and Syrian military bases. The group has a sizable arsenal of U.S. military equipment, which it seized after taking control of military bases in the major Iraqi city of Mosul.