Tuesday, January 13, 2004

So I Was Thinkin', Episode I: Thwarting MANPAD Attacks Against Airliners

So it is said that they are starting to think about retrofitting airliners with countermeasures against MANPADS like Stingers and SA-7s. I suppose I'm a little pessimistic about the prospects for a project like this. I've heard people say that this is the kind of thing that we simply won't get serious about until after an airliner is actually shot down. Word is--or was for awhile at least--that an El Al airliner has already been attacked, but it was outfitted with countermeasures that defeated the missile.

So anyway--and I don't have any specialized knowledge about this kind of thing, so I'm just throwing the idea out there because I have nothing better to do with it--I wonder whether they could build countermeasures into airPORTS instead of airPLANES. Whereas there a lots of large passenger airplanes in the U.S., there are far few airports from which they fly--can't be more than an average of about two per state, right? So instead of trying (or pretending) to retrofit every airplane at a cost of like a million bucks per plane, perhaps some kind of anti-missle system could be put at the ends of runways at large airports. I rather doubt that we have anything fast enough to intercept a Stinger, but maybe. Maybe something like the Phalanx gun system could work. Or maybe small planes loaded with flare projectors could circle the end of the runway as planes take off, ready to project a buttload of flares. (Or lasers? Or death rays? or force fields?) Sure, there are dangers associated with having small planes aloft while the big planes are taking off, but the risks may be acceptable.

Dunno. Just a thought.

[Addendum: See, you wouldn't even have to do anything very precise. You just have radar track every plane as it takes off and lands, and when a missile launch is detected, you basically fill up the relevant part of the sky with a ton of heat sources fired from the ground or a circling plane outfitted for precisely this purpose.]


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home