Thu, Aug 03, 2006
Proposed System Not Reliable Past 300-400 Hours
The threat of a
shoulder-fired missile bringing down a commercial aircraft in the
US is considered real... but it could be 20 years or more before
every US passenger aircraft is equipped with a system to protect it
from such an attack. That is the assessment found in a report
obtained by the Associated Press Monday.
The report states that for three years, the Department of
Homeland Security has been looking for some sort of solution to the
problem of a pop-up missile threat against commercial aircraft. The
research alone has cost upwards of $100 million.
Working with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, the DHS did come up
with a working prototype. But now comes word that it breaks down
after every 300 or 400 hours of use. That, says DHS, makes it
impractical for widescale implementation.
"The prototype units are capable of partially meeting the
Department of Homeland Security performance requirements," the
A Homeland Security spokesman says it'll be at least another
18-months before a revised system can be tested to see if it's
effective and more reliable. DHS is also spending $10 million to
test other systems.
Members of Congress say they're afraid it'll take the shoot-down
of a domestic airliner to bring this issue to the front burner...
and they wonder how many lives will be sacrificed in the
As one analyst puts it... any bonehead with $5,000 dollars can
buy a shoulder-fired missile and bring down a multi-million dollar
airliner. In fact, it wasn't that long ago... two years... that the
FBI arrested two men in Albany, NY as they tried to do just
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