A shield in the sky

A few days ago, the operational Commercial Multispectral Infrared Countermeasure (C-MUSIC)  ”Sky Shield” was installed on an Israeli passenger aircraft.

It took too long while the threat became more and more imminent, but after a long process that was slowed by almost every bureaucratic hurdle in the book, it is finally happening.

Following a successful ground test earlier this year, and after processing data collected from a system installed on an EL AL passenger aircraft, the green light was given for the installation of the series production systems.

The installation was approved by the Israeli civil aviation authority, and is being performed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The threat of man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) has grown considerably over the last few years. Elbit Systems’ C-MUSIC technology is a family of directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) for protecting aircraft against heat-seeking ground-to-air missiles.

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

The initial detection of incoming threats is provided by a missile warning system. When a threatening missile is detected the warning is passed to the DIRCM, which then directs a thermal tracker to acquire and track the threat. A powerful laser beam is then fired accurately at the missile, causing it to be deflected away from the aircraft.

Twelve years after terrorist launched a MANPAD in the direction of an Israeli passenger aircraft in Kenya – and missed – the installation of a protection system is finally under way.

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