Protecting Commercial Aircraft from Terrorist Attacks
Author: Monica Amarelo
WASHINGTON DC -- Systems for protecting commercial aircraft against terrorist missile attacks could cost more than $40 billion, according to a recent Department of Homeland Security report obtained by the Federation of American Scientists.
The report summarizes the results of a six-year, $276 million program to “…develop, demonstrate and evaluate technologies to protect commercial aircraft from MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems].”
The three-phase program involved extensive testing of two anti-missile systems, one developed by Northrop Grumman Corporationand the other developed by BAE Systems. Both systems use a laser to jam incoming missiles, causing them to veer off-course. Similar systems have been used on military aircraft for years.
The report reveals important details about the DHS program but several key questions, including the systems' effectiveness against certain types of missiles, remain unanswered. Also unclear is whether Congress has the appetite for more spending despite its early enthusiasm for the program.
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To interview Matt Schroeder, please contact Monica Amarelo at 202-454-4680 or [email protected].
Matthew Schroeder is the Manager of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project at the Federation of American Scientists.