Legislation Would Mandate Missile Defense For Airlines

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A bill that would promote the development of defenses to protect commercial aircraft from shoulder-launched missiles was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill, H.R. 4056, would require the FAA to speed up certification of anti-missile systems at the same time it encourages the government to take steps to stop the proliferation of the portable weapons. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, told CNN the government might require missile-defense systems as standard equipment on new airliners. The bill would ask the president to pursue international treaties and agreements to stop the spread of the cheap, easily concealed launchers. It would also suggest the U.S. continue to buy back missiles already on the international market. Shoulder-launched missiles have never been deployed against airliners in the U.S., but a DHL cargo plane was hit while taking off from Baghdad last November. The crew managed to land the plane despite extensive wing damage and still-unconfirmed reports that all the hydraulically operated flight controls were taken out.