Singapore's defence ministry is developing an anti-surface-to-air missile system for the nation's commercial aircraft ranging from the Airbus A320 family through to widebody aircraft such as the A380 and Boeing 747-400.

The ministry says the Singapore government has asked it to develop the technology in conjunction with foreign defence manufacturers.

Industry sources say Singapore has been briefed on Israeli company Elta's Flight Guard system, and the country will monitor the introduction of the system on Israeli airliners later this year before deciding whether to proceed.

The ministry says the anti-missile system will be ready for commercial use in two years and the government eventually wants the system installed on all of Singapore Airlines' (SIA) and subsidiary SilkAir's aircraft.

Singapore's military aircraft such as Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports, one of which is serving in Iraq, are fitted with anti-missile systems, but none of the country's commercial aircraft have such systems.

SIA's passenger fleet comprises over 90 aircraft - A340-500s, 747-400s and Boeing 777s - with A380s due for delivery from early 2006. SilkAir operates 10 A320-family narrowbody aircraft.

Source: Flight International