El Al completes installing anti-missile defenses on its planes

Published 15 February 2006

The Bush administration may have second thoughts about defending civilian airlines against shoulder-mounted missiles — the DHS budget allocated for this purposed was cut from $108 million in 2006 to less than $5 in 2007 — but in Israel they have a different view. The Israeli airline El Al said it had completed equipping its planes with anti-missile systems made by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The development and testing of the system began a while back, and the first planes were equipped with the system in early December after the system had successfully completed a series of tests. As we reported a couple of months ago [see HSDW 12/2/05], IAI makes a flare-based system for military planes, and the company modified the system so it would be suitable for civilian aircrafts. IAI is also working on an electro-optical defense system which is based on laser rays. It will be ready in about two years and will complement the currently deployed system.

Work on the defense system began after two al Queda operatives fired two shoulder-launched missiles at an Israeli jet taking off from Mombassa, Kenya on its way to Israel.

-read more in this report