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FAA Installing Anti-Missile Systems On Its Jets

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posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 04:11 PM
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The FAA has begun installing anti-missile systems on its fleet of aircrafts. This is the latest move to protect the planes from missile attacks.




SFGate.com: FAA begins equipping its jets with anti-missile system / Move is latest to protect aircraft from terror attack

October 12, 2006



In yet another reminder of the lurking threat terrorist missiles pose to airliners, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun installing anti-missile systems on its fleet of aircraft.

The anti-missile device being installed is known as LAIRCM, or Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures System, which detects ultraviolet light coming from an attacking missile's exhaust and then directs a pulsating laser beam at its homing device, or "seeker." The laser sends false tracking information, causing the missile to lose track of the target aircraft.

As part of the Homeland Security counter-MANPADS program, commercial versions of laser-based anti-missile systems from Northrop and BAE are being tested on cargo versions of Boeing 767 and 747 aircraft, MD-10s and MD-11s. The program is expected to conclude in March 2008, according to Homeland Security spokesman Christopher Kelly. At that point, the protection systems will be removed from the planes

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Interesting move. They must have good reasons to believe that there is a risk of missile attacks against planes, since they're doing this.




posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 04:44 PM
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Cha-Ching!

And another Corporation cashes in on Terror.
This time out, it's Northrop Grumman Corporation the makers of the LAIRCM system.



A highly optimistic, straight-line projection from current technology suggests a $2 billion-$6 billion program (1,000 transports at $3 million per LAIRCM suite would yield $3 billion), but this assumes LAIRCM unit costs remain high for the next decade or two, and that the services can fund 1,000 systems.

Source

6 Billion dollars for a system that protects aganst something that has never happened.

Fear is a very profitable thing.



posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 05:43 PM
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Actually, it has happened.


lethal - The history of MANPADS usage by guerrillas and terrorists underscores the efficacy of these weapons against both civilian and military targets. Estimates of deaths resulting from MANPADS attacks on civilian aircraft range from 500 to 1000.9 While most of these deaths were from attacks on smaller aircraft, the Congressional Research Service identified 5 cases in which large civilian turbojet aircraft were targeted. In two of the five cases, the outcome was catastrophic - all people on board were killed.10


Link

The link is quite a good article on the MANPAD threat in total, and the system capabiltiies involved. And while $6 billion sounds like a lot, as soon as a couple of MANPADs are fired in western countries, the impact on tourism, airline insurance costs, and public confidence will likely be a lot more than $6 billion, even if the missiles don't hit anything.



posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 06:28 PM
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Sorry, but your artical reads like a fearmonger's infomercial.
It highlights a whole bunch of potential threats without noting the limitations of the systems.

Comercial aricraft normally fly at altitudes that put them safely out of range of MPADS. These means that they are only a serious threat to these panes during takeoff or landing and must be positioned close to runways.

Much cheaper defence systems could be implemented that would negate the vast majority of these weapons. Good 'ol flares 'n chaff work rather well for defeating the older models of shoulder launched AA missiles. Those older models are the ones that have been wildly distributed.

I don't see any soild reports of these weapons being used against comercial aircraft. I see something with the word "esimate" tacked onto the front. In spin doctoring circles using "estimate" in assosiation with any statment is a lisence to lie. You cannot be accused of lying since you can say "it was only an estimate". Additionally, of these 5 "estimated" attacks involving these weapons, how many involved dirt-strip airfields in the middile of destabilized regions?

Even further, the system they are talking about installing is only effective against modern versions of these weapons. IR laser jamming would have no effect on older heatseaking weapons.

Finnally, as noted above, range is a crutial factor in using these weapons. Given that restriction, a dumbfired LAW, RPG, or even a Bazooka round could be just as deadly if fired at a plane sitting on the tarmac. Hell, a single shot from a .50 cal rifle could produce the same effects and those things are legal in many parts of the US.

Thus, placed within this context, I stand by my statment.
Fear is a great way to make money.



posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 06:38 PM
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Actually, your statement was:




6 Billion dollars for a system that protects aganst something that has never happened.


And it has. Whether it was dirt strip operations in a destabilised region or not, your statement is clearly wrong.

Flares only work effectively against older spinscan and conscan reticles in MANPADs, and those with limited IRCCM. Flares are a fire hazard at low level in population centres. Chaff does nothing for MANPADs as they use a contact fuse.

Older generation MANPADs are IR trackers, not "heatseekers". DIRCMs work fine against these.

While bullets and RPGs may be a threat, the MANPAD is much more effective against crossing targets, and increases the chance of a kill. If you are going to shoot and scoot, MANPADs offer the best chance at a kill.

Edit: for spelling.

[edit on 12-10-2006 by Willard856]



posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 07:11 PM
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Originally posted by Willard856
Actually, your statement was:




6 Billion dollars for a system that protects aganst something that has never happened.


And it has. Whether it was dirt strip operations in a destabilised region or not, your statement is clearly wrong.

Straw Man Argument
Not only are you attacking a minor point in my statement in order to devalue the rest of the post, you are ignoring the fact that I question the overall validity of the assertation that this kind of attack has ever happened.

Even if these attacks have happened, I quite clearly pointed out some very good reasons why people don't need to freak out over this "threat".



Flares only work effectively against older spinscan and conscan reticles in MANPADs, and those with limited IRCCM. Flares are a fire hazard at low level in population centres. Chaff does nothing for MANPADs as they use a contact fuse.

Granted that chaff would only be effective against radar tracking missiles, it would be of limited use. However, chaff is a misdirection counter messure and does not require the weapon to have promimity fuse (although it does help). Chaff presents a blurred radar image that confuses trackers. With a proximity warhead, the hope is to cause an early detonation since the missile "thinks" it's close enough to the target to detonate. In the case of a contact fuse, it can still be effective since the chaff hopefully causes the missile to chase the big blurry image instead of the plane. When it passes through the cloud, it's likely off-cource enough to be unable to re-aquire. Remember, missiles in real life don't manuver like the ones you see in movies.


As for flares being a fire hazzard... um... yeah. Not so much. It's not like having to use counter measures would be a common thing. Even if they are deployed, they would close to airports (remember the range factor) which tend to have alot of fire suppression equipment and personel on-hand.


Older generation MANPADs are IR trackers, not "heatseekers". DIRCMs work fine against these.

IR tracking = Heat seeker in older models missiles


Infra-red homing refers to a guidance system which uses the infra-red light emission from a target to track it. Missiles which use infra-red seeking are often referred to as "heat-seekers". Infra-red (IR) is just below the visible spectrum of light in frequency and is radiated strongly by hot bodies. Many objects such as people, vehicle engines and aircraft generate and retain heat, and as such, are especially visible in the infra-red wavelengths of light compared to objects in the background.

Source
New missiles use two tones and track via ultraviolet as well as Infra Red, but as pointed out the vast majority of these missiles in distrabution are of older makes.



While bullets and RPGs may be a threat, the MANPAD is much more effective against crossing targets, and increases the chance of a kill. If you are going to shoot and scoot, MANPADs offer the best chance at a kill.

I agree that given my choice and desire to shoot down a plane, I'd want to employ the biggest, baddest weapon I could lay my hands on. The reality, however, is that compaired to other ways of causing destruction, the threat of MPADs is minimal.

Another way of looking at this...

Bird strikes have undeniably caused way more aircraft crashes than anysort of terrorist activity or attack. With a 6 Billion dollar budget, think of the research that could be preformed into bio-mass contact resitant engines and contruction matireals.

Or how much resear could that money buy to develop enhanced computer systems to mitigate pilot error? How much airport improvement would that money buy?

The bottom line is that this isn't a large threat and spending this money on defences to counter it has more to do with people making a buck than actually providing any provable enhancement to public safty.



posted on Oct, 13 2006 @ 12:03 AM
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Not only are you attacking a minor point in my statement in order to devalue the rest of the post, you are ignoring the fact that I question the overall validity of the assertation that this kind of attack has ever happened.


I'm sorry you feel like I'm attacking you. Just as a reminder:



6 Billion dollars for a system that protects aganst something that has never happened.

Fear is a very profitable thing.


A minor point in your statement? You said something had never happened. I'd label that a major point in your statement and argument. And it is wrong. Here's another link which talks about a range of issues, the least of which is that attacks on commercial aircraft by MANPADs has happened, as well as some further background reading:

GAO report

CRS report




Granted that chaff would only be effective against radar tracking missiles, it would be of limited use. However, chaff is a misdirection counter messure and does not require the weapon to have promimity fuse (although it does help). Chaff presents a blurred radar image that confuses trackers. With a proximity warhead, the hope is to cause an early detonation since the missile "thinks" it's close enough to the target to detonate. In the case of a contact fuse, it can still be effective since the chaff hopefully causes the missile to chase the big blurry image instead of the plane. When it passes through the cloud, it's likely off-cource enough to be unable to re-aquire. Remember, missiles in real life don't manuver like the ones you see in movies.



The missile is not going to chase the chaff because it is tracking the IR signature. It will fly through a chaff cloud. If it had a proximity fuse it may may detonate. The majority of MANPADs don't.

Thanks for the tip on missile manoeuvres, having fired an AIM-9 and AIM-7, and been involved in the testing of MANPADs, I have a fairly good grasp of what missile trajectories and manoeuvrability capabilities are.



IR tracking = Heat seeker in older models missiles


No, IR tracking = IR tracking. While heat sources can provide IR tracking signatures, "non-hot" IR signatures can also be tracked. Spinscan reticles in particular bite off on IR point sources like lights, ignoring "hotter" targets. Heat seeker is a layman's term for how these things work. And your claim was that DIRCMs don't work against older generation missiles, when in fact they do, and very well at that.

I'm not sure what ranges you are working on, but considering most MANPADS are effective up to at least 15 000 feet, this is a long way down range from the airport.
People who live next to airports would probably prefer not to have a flare program land on their footpath, garden or roof. Most countries have a minimum altitude that you can release flares at. This accounts for the rise time, burn time, and a bit of fat for good luck of the flare. Even with next generation black-body flares, DIRCMs offer a safer, easier and more effective solution. Also, you need to add on the cost of personnel training, program and tactic validation and input, safe arming areas at the airport, time impact, storage locations, etc, onto your cost for flares. So what looks on the surface as being a cheaper alternative to DIRCMs suddenly becomes very expensive over time. Whereas you bolt on a DIRCM, press on, and you are ready to go.




The bottom line is that this isn't a large threat and spending this money on defences to counter it has more to do with people making a buck than actually providing any provable enhancement to public safty.


Welcome to the new world. As soon as one MANPAD gets launched at a US airport, the cost overall is going to be a whole stack more than $6 billion. Yes, birds cause accidents, but not generally to larger aircraft. Are people going to make money out of it? You betcha. But I've never had to use the airbag in may car, does this mean I've wasted my money by paying for it, when it is people with poor driving skills that need it most? It is about insurance. It is about risk. And the FAA is obviously trying to assess this risk. Guess we'll have to wait and see what they decide.

Just to show I'm not wedded to the concept of DIRCMs on aircraft, there is also the risk of laser-beamriders, such as RBS-70, which DIRCMs will have no impact on, and newer generation imaging seekers, again which DIRCMs will have limited impact on. And at the end of the day, even if a MANPAD is launched and misses, the desired terror impact will still be there, countermeasures or not. Hitting the target is a bonus.



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