Anti-Missile System Developed For Civilian Passenger Planes

from the take-that dept

Worried about terrorists trying to shoot down your plane? Well, soon, it sounds like passenger airplanes may get special anti-missile systems to protect them against such actions. Not surprisingly, the system is similar to those used by military jets, and uses a series of sensors to note an incoming missile and deploy decoys to hopefully divert the missile.

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Comments on “Anti-Missile System Developed For Civilian Passenger Planes”

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dorpus says:

Sounds scammy

Correct me if I’m wrong, but modern missiles are pretty sophisticated and are no longer easily fooled by flares. A fighter jet combines its agility with launching lots of decoys to confuse the missile for a fraction of a second. Passenger planes have no such agility.

Also, would we want passenger planes dumping decoys all over the crowded skies and cities? What happens when decoys get sucked into other plane engines? What if a flaming flare lands on somebody’s roof, a national forest, and starts a flaming inferno?

mgallagher says:


Dorpus is right about anti-IR guidance being a combination of deployed devices and maneuvers, however it seems unlikely that a passenger jet would be attacked using a very sophisticated SAM or AAM – those get pretty pricey for the terrorist income bracket, even the wealthy ones.

The bigger question to me (and the reason that commercial countermeasures sound at least a little dubious) is: when has a civilian aircraft ever been attacked by missles? The only example that comes to mind is when an Aegis destroyer in the Persian gulf accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger jet a few years ago. I may just not know of other examples, can anyone offer any?

Is this a reasonable response to a real threat, or just another indulgence in paranoid fantasy? That seems to be becoming the new national passtime.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Scammy...perhaps

Is this a reasonable response to a real threat, or just another indulgence in paranoid fantasy? That seems to be becoming the new national passtime

There have been cases (in Europe, if I remember correctly) of terrorists being caught with shoulder-mounted missiles, with plans to shoot down civilian airlines.

No time right now to look up a link, but if I get a chance later, I’ll see what I can find.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Scammy...perhaps

The IRA tried to down British helicopters with kevlar lines tied to balloons. It didn’t work because the rotor wash pushed the balloons away. Jet engines suck IN the air though. If a jet engine fails, it’s possible for the fan blades to come apart and make the engine explode like a shotgun shell, turning the passengers and fuel tank into Baghdad Beef.

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