The Israeli air force has completed an operational test of Elbit Systems’ C-Music countermeasures system on one of its aircraft, with the equipment intended to protect platforms attacked by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.
News of the advance comes after an SA-7 Strela missile was launched at an Israeli air force aircraft flying over the Gaza Strip earlier this week. The weapon missed its target.
Work to instal the new self-defence equipment is expected to begin early next year, following many delays.
Intelligence sources have claimed in recent months that the number of shoulder-launched missiles in Gaza has increased dramatically because of arms shipments that have arrived from Libya since the collapse of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
C-Music is based on Elbit’s Music system, which uses directed infrared countermeasure technology to disrupt shoulder-launched missiles fired at large military aircraft and helicopters. The equipment causes an infrared-guided missile to veer off course by transmitting a laser beam at its seeker. Recent tests have proved that C-Music is capable of rapidly handling multiple threats.
Israeli air force
Elbit's countermeasures equipment could protect types like the C-130 transport
Israel’s initial plan was to fit C-Music installations on aircraft that are flown on international routes. However, the changing situation in Egypt, which has led to the Sinai desert region becoming a base for terrorist organisations, has forced the authorities to reconsider the scheme’s limits.
Efforts are now being made to tailor the system for installation on smaller aircraft, such as the ATR 72 regional turboprops that are operated on domestic flights from central Israel to the nation’s Eilat region.