Passenger aircraft were not designed to carry countermeasures. However, the world has changed and these aircraft are easy targets for terrorists with shoulder-launched missiles.
Israel will become the first country to impose rules on the installation of such countermeasures on the fleet of the country’s airlines.
However, this is already creating problems and it seems that others are on the horizon.
Two Israeli airlines, Arkia and Israir, will have to phase out their ATR 42/72s used for domestic flights because they cannot carry the C-Music countermeasures system against shoulder-launched missiles.
The Israeli civil aviation authority (CAA) notified the two airlines that since the ATRs are too small for C-Music, the types will have to be replaced.
The installation of the C-Music countermeasures system on Israeli passenger aircraft will begin soon. It will first be installed on aircraft flying international routes.
C-Music is based on the Music system, a direct infra-red countermeasure
technology for military aircraft and helicopters that disrupts shoulder-launched missiles fired at aircraft and causes 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.
The initial plan was to install C-Music on aircraft that fly on international routes. The changing situation in Egypt, which made the Sinai Desert a terror base, led to the Israeli authorities reconsidering that plan.
The CAA notification to the two airlines is the official proof that the systems will also be installed on aircraft that operate domestic flights, mainly on the Tel Aviv-Eilat route. In some phases of the flight, the aircraft pass near the border.
Arkia operates five ATR 72s, while Israir operates three ATR 42s and two ATR 72-500s.
I do not think that the final result will be the selling of the ATRs. My assessment is that some solution will be found in the shape of a downsized version of the system.