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article imageMissiles found on plane bound for Portland were for training

By Megan Hamilton     Mar 15, 2016 in Travel
Belgrade - When a bomb-sniffing dog at an airport in Belgrade sniffed out two missiles in a cargo package on a passenger flight from Lebanon that was bound for Portland, Maine, it raised a few eyebrows.
But the Lebanese army has said the missiles were for training purposes and didn't contain explosives.
The announcement came Monday after Serbian authorities began investigating reports of a cargo package containing two missiles with explosive warheads that was bound for the U.S., CNBC reports.
The missiles were being sent to the American company that manufactured them, and the return was in accordance "with administrative and legal measures after the training ended," the army said.
The American-made AGM-114 Hellfire missiles can be fired from air, sea and ground platforms against several targets, OregonLive reports. These missiles were originally designed to be fired from a helicopter and were given a rather unwieldy name — the Helicopter Launched, Fire and Forget Missile--later shortened to Hellfire.
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, the missile weighs about 100 pounds and costs around $110,000 apiece. Most are equipped with lasers to focus on their targets, but one version of the AGM-114 uses radar, OregonLive reports.
Initial reports said the missiles were bound for Portland, Oregon, but they were actually bound for Portland, Maine, KOMO News reports. They did not contain any explosives.
Serbia's N1 television said sniffer dogs discovered the missiles Saturday after an Air Serbia flight out of Beirut landed at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Sky News reports. N1 also said that Air Serbia is helping in the investigation.
The missiles were packed in wooden coffins, according to the Serbian state news agency Tanjug.
Lebanese security forces say the missiles were used in training exercises, according to Reuters, per Sky News. U.S. and Lebanese officials were aware of the shipment and the missiles were not a threat to the public.
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