...As Surface-To-Air Missile Defense System Stalls...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Although both BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman say they will be ready to produce workable missile-defense systems for airliners by January, so far there is no funding available and no mandate that would require airlines to utilize such defenses, The Associated Press reported last week. Several bills pending in Congress would require the systems be carried -- at least on some flights -- but the airlines have balked at cost and maintenance issues, and complain that the systems are too unreliable. Both systems under development use lasers to jam the guidance systems of incoming missiles. Government contracts call for the systems to cost less than $1 million each and to be easier to maintain and more reliable than military versions now in service. Last month, two men were charged by a federal jury in Los Angeles with conspiring to smuggle 200 shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles into the U.S. Earlier this year, a British arms dealer was convicted on similar charges in New Jersey.