Imminent threat, available solution, implementation

There is no way to put it less bluntly. Will airlines around the world equip their aircraft with countermeasures that can defeat shoulder-launched missiles before an airliner is downed, or after?

The question has been relevant for some years, but it is more so when Israel is about to begin installing such countermeasures on its fleet of airliners.

The installation of the C-Music system on Israeli passenger aircraft is set to begin soon.

Elbit Systems’ C-Music technology will be installed by mixed teams of the Elop division of the Israeli company and the country’s airlines.

C-Music is based on the Music system, a direct infra-red countermeasure technology for military aircraft and helicopters, which disrupts shoulder-launched missiles fired at aircraft, causing them to veer off course by transmitting a laser beam.

Recent tests proved that C-music is capable of rapid response, and can handle multiple threats.

According to the government’s decision, C-Music will be installed on the national carrier’s aircraft.

The initial plan was to install C-Music on aircraft that fly on international routes. The changing situation in Egypt helped push Israeli authorities to reconsider a wider installation. It seems now that it will also be installed on aircraft that operate domestic flights, mainly on the Tel Aviv-Eilat route, as some sections of that flight pass close to the border.

The question remains whether other airlines in other countries will follow. Interest in the system is big. But installing it means spending a lot of money at a time when airlines are struggling to make profits.

Even before the Libyan conflict, intelligence sources talked about some 50,000 shoulder-launched missiles in the hands of terrorist organisations. After Libya, this number grew, as most of the missiles in the Libyan government’s arsenal were taken by unknown groups.

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