The threat, the solution – and the dilemma

The moment of truth is approaching at the cruising speed of an airliner – will airlines around the world equip their fleets with systems capable of defeating shoulder-launched missiles?

When these systems were mere ideas in the heads of some engineers, this question was very not relevant. But now such a system has reached a point where the question is not operational, but financial.

Elbit Systems’ Commercial Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure (C-Music) performed a series of successful flight tests on board a Boeing 707.

The system, designated to protect large jet aircraft against shoulder-launched missiles (MANPADS), proved effective, successfully performing all the necessary functions.

The threat of MANPADS has grown considerably over the last few years. Elbit’s C-MUSIC systems are a family of directed IR countermeasures for protecting aircraft against heat-seeking ground-to-air missiles.

According to the Israeli company these systems integrate advanced fibre laser technology together with a high-rate thermal camera and a small mirror turret to provide effective, reliable and affordable protection to all types of aircraft under all operational conditions.

C-MUSIC is a complete self-protection solution installed in an aerodynamic pod, and especially designed for the protection of large civil jets.

The system was selected by the Israeli government for the protection of its entire commercial airline fleet, and was designed to meet the requirements of both commercial certification and protection of large aircraft.

According to Elbit this is the first programme in the world to provide a complete protection solution for commercial aviation.

The system is being offered on the international market, and there is considerable interest from many potential customers operating commercial, VIP and military aircraft.

In Israel installation has become fact, the question is whether airlines across the world – including countries under a similar threat of shoulder-launched missiles – will follow.

The basic price, installation price and extra weight are all factors that airlines will consider while evaluating the threat.

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