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wmfd.com - Whoever is responsible, whatever the reason. the fact remains, 298 innocent souls on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

   
 
 
Some Calling For Anti-Missile Systems On Commercial Planes

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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Whoever is responsible, whatever the reason. the fact remains, 298 innocent souls on Malaysia Airlines flight 17 were murdered. Blown from the sky. This unconscionable act, now leading some to call for anti-missile systems on commercial airliners. As crews sift through the wreckage of Malaysia Air light 17, concerns are growing that more commercial airliners could be vulnerable to attacks like this. "Of course after this attack there's going to be increasing pressure to build- put some kind of defense system on commercial airliners," says Caitlin Lee, a weapons expert. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is worried about the safety of American passengers, calling on the FAA "to install counter-measures" on commercial planes. Those systems could have prevented this: A November 2003 attack on a DHL cargo plane over Baghdad. It managed to land safely. Israel already has counter-measures on its El-Al planes, developed after terrorists launched a shoulder-fired missile and barely missed an Israeli passenger jet taking off from Mombasa, Kenya in 2002. On the Israeli planes, a laser fired from a turret moves toward a missile and deflects it away. But those are designed to counter only simpler, shoulder-fired missiles, to fend off more sophisticated, radar-guided missiles like the one apparently fired at the Malaysia Airlines jet. One possible counter-measure, according to experts and various reports, could be fired from the commercial plane in a canister. That canister would burst open and send out what's called "chaff," metal confetti. "Reflective aluminum particles that create a cloud that's much larger than the aircraft, and this cloud distracts the missile because the radar cross-section of the cloud is much bigger than that of the aircraft," Lee says. "And so the missile is thrown off-target.." But experts say it's only for a few seconds before the missile could lock back onto the aircraft. And installing them and maintaining them would be difficult. It could easily pull planes off the tarmac and cancel flights when they malfunction. They're enormously expensive. "And sort of the lowball estimate on that is about $1-million per aircraft, to build such a system," Lee says. And former fighter-pilots tell us, it's not safe for commercial pilots to deploy those "chaff" canisters. Once that shoots out and distracts the missile, they say, the pilot has to take very abrupt, evasive maneuvers, practical in a fighter-jet, but on a huge commercial plane, that could endanger the passengers.

   
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