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Steal the Sky

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Steal the Sky (1988)

Steal the Sky is a 1988 TV movie directed by John D. Hancock starring Ben Cross and Mariel Hemingway. It is a loose dramatization of the events of Operation Diamond, a Mossad operation to obtain a then-state-of-the-art Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighter for the Israeli Air Force.

The following weapons were used in the film Steal the Sky:



David Mason (Nicolas Surovy) and Colonel Gemayel (Andreas Katsulas) both brandish M1911A1 pistols.

Pre-War Colt M1911A1 Pistol - Commercial Model known as the "Colt Government Model" - .45 ACP
The holstered M1911A1 in the hotel room used by Mossad agents.
David Mason (Nicolas Surovy) grabs the M1911A1...
...and chambers a round.
Colonel Gemayel (Andreas Katsulas) with his M1911A1. Note the Fairchild C-123K in the background, which was never operated by any iteration of the Iraqi Air Force.

Walther PP

An Iraqi officer is armed with a Walther PP.

Post war Walther PP Pistol - .32 ACP
An Iraqi officer (uncredited) with his pistol drawn.
An Iraqi officer (uncredited) with his pistol drawn.

Submachine guns


An Iraqi guard appears to be armed with an Uzi submachine gun. While this is unlikely in real life, it appears that almost all of the non-flying scenes were shot in Israel.

IMI Uzi with buttstock collapsed - 9x19mm
An Iraqi guard with what appears to be an Uzi.


Short Magazine Lee-Enfield

Kurdish fighters are armed with SMLE rifles.

Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III* - .303 British
A Kurdish fighter fires his SMLE during an air raid.
A Kurdish fighter fires his SMLE during an air raid.
A Kurdish fighter with an SMLE slung.

Karabiner 98k

Kurdish fighters are armed with Karabiner 98k rifles.

Karabiner 98k - German manufacture 1937 date - 7.92x57mm Mauser
A Kurdish fighter with his K98k slung.
StS K98k 02.jpg
StS K98k 03.jpg


Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish fighters are armed with AK-47s.

Final Production version of the Type III AK-47 with cleaning rod removed and laminated stock - 7.62x39mm
A Kurdish fighter with an AK-47 slung.
Iraqi soldiers fire their AK-47s.
Iraqi soldiers fire their AK-47s. Note the Israeli-style blank-firing adapters.


At least one of the Iraqi soldiers is armed with an AKS-47.

Type III AKS-47 - 7.62x39mm
An Iraqi soldier firing his AKS-47.

Norinco Type 56

At least one of the Iraqi soldiers is armed with an Norinco Type 56.

M22, early milled receiver model without under-folding ("pig sticker") bayonet - 7.62x39mm
An Iraqi guard with his Type 56. Note the stamped receiver, hooded front sight, and compensator. The airfield scenes were shot in Reno, Nevada, so they would not have access to authentic Soviet AKs.

Machine Guns

Browning M1919A4

A Browning M1919A4 is mounted on an Israeli M47 tank.

Browning M1919A4 - .30-06 Springfield
An M1919 mounted on the M47. (Why would there be a tank at an airfield?)

Bren gun

Kurdish fighters are armed with Bren guns.

Bren Mk1 - .303 caliber
A Kurdish fighter fires his Bren gun. Note his slung K98k.

Browning M2 Aircraft

A Browning M2 Aircraft is mounted on an Israeli jeep

Browning M2 Aircraft, Flexible - .50 BMG
The M2 Aircraft mounted on the jeep.


An MG34 is mounted on an Iraqi jeep.

MG34 with front and rear sights folded down - 7.92x57mm Mauser
An Iraqi MP manning the MG34.
An Iraqi MP fires on the escaping fighter. And it appears at his fellow MP bailed out.

Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23

Iraqi MiG-15 fighters are supposed to be armed with a pair of Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannons. But since the FAA does not allow civilian aircraft to be armed, these are more likely gas-powered replicas.

Nudelman Rikhter NR-23 - 23mm
The "NR-23s" "firing".
This shot appears to be flipped, as the NR-23 are supposed to be on the port side of the aircraft.
The muzzle of one of the NR-23s.

Nudelman N-37

Iraqi MiG-15 fighters are supposed to be armed with a Nudelman N-37 cannon. But like the NR-23s, this is likely a gas-powered replica.

Nudelman N-37 37mm
The "N-37" on the MiG.


M1938 120mm mortar

Iraqi troops are shown maneuvering an 120mm M1938 Mortar (possibly an M1943 version).

The Iraqi troops maneuvering the M1938.
The Iraqi troops maneuvering the M1938.

B-10 recoilless rifle

When it comes time to actually firing the mortars however, they've turned into B-10 recoilless rifles.

B-10 recoilless rifle 82mm
An Iraqi soldier "loading" the B-10.
StS B10 02.jpg
StS B10 03.jpg

AK-47 tear gas projector

Iraqi security forces use a cup-style tear gas grenade launcher to smoke out dissidents.

Iraqi troops firing a gas grenade.

M51 Skysweeper

An M51 Skysweeper is seen at the Iraqi airbase.

The Skysweeper at the Iraqi base. The Soviet flag flies due to the Soviet advisers there.

TM-57 Land Mine

An Iraqi soldier removes what appears to be a TM-57 land mine.

StS landmine 01.jpg


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

In reality, Captain Munir Redfa of the Iraqi Air Force defected with a MiG-21, which was quite an intelligence coup in 1966. As the filmmakers didn't have any MiG-21s available to them, they used MiG-15s. The production had three Polish-built MiG-15s on hand, two single seaters and one two-seater.

Using MiG-15s in place of MiG-21s didn't stop their Soviet adviser from describing the fighter as "the finest plane in the world." The secrets of the MiG-15 were revealed to the West years earlier in 1953 after the defection of a North Korean pilot.

Canadair CT-133

In reality, Munir Redfa was met by Israeli Air Force Mirage IIIs, which, like MiG-21s, were unavailable. The production had to make due with Canadair CT-133 trainers, which was a license built copy of the Lockheed T-33, which was a two seat trainer version of the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star. Although they had decals to suggest they were armed F-80s, these trainers were unarmed. Israel never actually operated either the T-33 or the F-80.

Note the decals suggesting gunports in the nose.
StS T33 02.jpg

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