says it plans to install anti-missile defenses on passenger jets
flown by national carrier Singapore Airlines and a subsidiary.
Authorities are developing a defensive device that they hope to
have ready for use by Singapore Airlines and SilkAir planes in two
years, Ministry of Defense spokesman Alex Tan said Sunday.
The government has not yet determined how it will spread the
cost between the government and the airline, Tan said. He did not
provide a cost estimate. Singapore's military planes are already
outfitted with missile defense technology, the spokesman said.
Fears of an attack on commercial jetliners increased after
terrorists fired two heat-seeking rockets that missed an Israeli
passenger plane taking off from Kenya in November 2002. In
November, a shoulder-fired missile struck a DHL cargo plane over
Iraq, forcing it to make an emergency landing with its wing on
fire. Al Qaeda-linked regional militants are believed to have tried
to target Western sites in Singapore and authorities have detained
35 terror suspects.
Some military planes use missile defenses that spew out bits of
steel foil that ignite as they hit the air, forming a glowing cloud
behind the plane intended to divert a heat-seeking missile. The
U.S. Department of Homeland Security has commissioned research into
adapting anti-missile defense systems to civilian aircraft.