Anti-Missile System Approved For Airliners

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An Israeli company has received the first-ever certification of an anti-missile system for civilian aircraft. Israel's Civil Aviation Authority this week approved the system, developed by Israel Aircraft Industriesí (IAIís) Elta Systems Group. The system is specifically designed to thwart terrorist attacks from man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs), which are in the hands of as many as 27 guerilla and terrorist groups around the world, according to Jane's Defense Weekly. The system uses invisible infrared decoy flares to trick the heat-seeking sensors in the missile (the FAA isn't keen on conventional magnesium flares dropping around civilian airports) and a laser version is in the works. The military version of the system is already in use by 200 military transports and helicopters in 15 countries and the civilian model was tested on the Boeing 737. Israelís CAA authorization will allow installation on Boeing 767s, and El Al has at least six airplanes waiting. It intends to equip all its planes with anti-missile systems. There's no immediate word on whether the Israeli certification will be recognized by the FAA but El Al has already asked for permission to fly planes equipped with the system into U.S. airports.