Shoulder-fired missile (Illustration)
Photo: AP

Cabinet discusses commercial airliner missile defense

Security Cabinet deliberates on missile threat, budget of protection equipment meant to divert missiles fired at passenger planes

The Security Cabinet gathered on Sunday night to discuss the funding of the commercial airliner missile protection system. The cabinet members deliberated on the missile threat and the budget for the system, which would have to be transferred from the Defense Ministry.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak was not in attendance due to his meeting with his Greek counterpart.


Some El Al planes have already been equipped with the protective system six years ago. Transportation Ministry spokesman Avner Ovadia said at the time that the system is similar to the one used in fighter planes, but has been adapted to be used in passenger planes.


"When missiles are fired at a plane, the system discharges flares that diver the missiles mid-flight," he said.


The Defense Ministry financed the development of the missile defense system, which cost NIS 21 million (roughly $ 5.8 million). The military and aerospace industries took part in the project, in cooperation with the Defense Ministry and Shin Bet. An electro-optical protection system, which uses laser beams, was developed at the same time.


The project was initiated after two shoulder-fired missiles were shot at a Boeing 757 operated by Arkia Israel Airlines, which took off from an airport in Mombasa, Kenya in 2002. The pilots noticed the missile flashes when the plane reached 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) in air, a short while after takeoff, but decided against an emergency landing. The plane continued on its way to Israel, and no one was injured.


The incident occurred around the same time that a terror attack targeted the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa.




פרסום ראשון: 09.05.11, 11:17
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