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WAR: Los Angeles International Airport Preps Against Shoulder Fired Missiles

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posted on Dec, 27 2004 @ 05:00 AM
The high profile and busy Los Angeles international Airport is stepping up its security to guard against potential man portable surface to air missile threats. The step-up involves increased training specific to the threat as well as additional helicopter patrols are being deployed. Security officials admit the air patrols may not prevent a launch, but could allow for a rapid tracing back to the launchers.
Perimeter and air patrols are being beefed up at Los Angeles International as defense against possible shoulder-fired missile attacks on commercial aircraft, a top security official said.

Security officials are undergoing training specific for that threat, and additional helicopter patrols are being deployed, John Miller, head of the Los Angeles Police Department's counterterrorism bureau, told Airports Friday. While air patrols would not be able to counter a launched missile strike, they could give officials an important vantage point over the adjacent waterfront.

And, Miller added, if an attack were launched several miles away, an air patrol could trace the contrails back to the assailants.

"This is something terrorists are already trying," Miller said.

Miller noted that shoulder-fired missiles have been used against commercial flights in recent years, most recently against a cargo plane at Baghdad International. About 20,000 shoulder-fired missiles are on the black market, and no one knows how many could have been smuggled into the U.S., he said.

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This potential threat is going to be hard to counter in my humble opinion. Missiles like the Stinger are relatively portable and have a decent lethality. They can be fired quickly and require little set up. Given the urban areas most busy airports operate in it will be impossible to cover all potential launch points. While increased patrols and security are important, much more work and emphasis must be placed on protection systems for civil craft.

posted on Dec, 27 2004 @ 05:50 AM

While increased patrols and security are important, much more work and emphasis must be placed on protection systems for civil craft.

You are talking major dollars in a time when airlines are financially strapped. It will take an act of Congress or a disaster to get them to invest the money needed.

I believe that Israel has equipped all of their commercial airliners with the technology, or at least a majority of them. But then, Israel is serious about security, unlike the US with all it's detractors.

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