Sky News stoked new fears about aviation security on 5 January, when it broadcast footage showing Islamic State militants apparently attempting to turn an air-to-air missile into a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.

Sky said it obtained the footage from Syrian rebels who found it on an Islamic State trainer they captured as he attempted to reach Turkey. It claimed the footage showed how Islamic State weapons experts working at the “jihadi university” in the Syrian city of Al-Raqqah had worked out how to “recommission thousands of missiles assumed by Western governments to have been redundant through old age” by manufacturing new thermal batteries.

While a complete missile did not feature in the footage, the guidance section of what appeared to be an AIM-9 Sidewinder was seen. Cyrillic writing on one of its control surfaces suggested it was an R-13 (AA-2 ‘Atoll’): the Soviet copy of the short-range infrared-guided Sidewinder. It was most likely an R-13M variant captured at one of the Syrian air force bases overrun by rebel forces in recent years. […]