The price of protecting passenger aircraft from missiles

Will on-board countermeasures become an integral part of airliners around the world? The answer is no.

 

What has been for many years an integral part of almost every VIP aircraft will not become standard equipment on airliners.

 

This is not because they are not needed, but because they cost a lot of money to install and then use.

 

Are they needed? The answer from almost all experts is that this equipment is a must on airliners, especially those that fly in “sensitive” regions of the world.

 

The first country to equip its airlines’ aircraft with such a system is Israel. This also will happen after long delays caused firstly by technical hurdles, and then by those connected with who will be paying for what.

 

But as it looks now, the Elbit Systems C-Music countermeasures system against shoulder-launched missiles will soon be installed on a number of aircraft operated by Israeli airlines.

 

C-Music has recently completed an operational test on an Israeli air force (IAF) aircraft.

 

The installation is expected to begin early next year. This is, as I mentioned, after many delays.

 

This week, an SA-7 Strela shoulder-launched missile was fired at an IAF aircraft flying over Gaza. It missed.

 

Intelligence sources have claimed in recent months that the number of shoulder-launched missiles in Gaza has increased dramatically, due to shipments that came from Libya after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime.

 

C-Music is based on the Music system, a direct infra-red countermeasure technology for military aircraft and helicopters, which disrupts shoulder-launched missiles 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.

 

An effort is now being made to tailor the system for installation on small aircraft such as the ATR-72 that are operated on domestic flights from central Israel to Eilat.

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