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Is Missile Defense For Airliners Really Needed?  
User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (11 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2493 times:

I was scanning my daily dose of news to try to keep my mind from going numb to the outside world while doing my time in college and came across this

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=YPBLWA3JZ0HNCCRBAE0CFEY?type=topNews&storyID=3470368

is this really necessary? Or are we a day late and a dollar short like almost all of the new security measures being put in place. I really think we are overthinking the matter. As many of you may know there are .50 rifles availible on the market to civilians. for around $8000 last i checked

http://www.barrettrifles.com/

wouldn't one of these being fired into an engine at high RPM or into the leading edge of a wing be more damaging and a thousand times more low tech than a surface to air missile that we are so carefully (and expensively) defending against? Not to mention more cost effective and easier to get into the country. Considering they are already here. And before you bring it up I doubt I am giving terrorists ideas, this is not something that hard to think up. Not that I have a solution to this problem but I just wonder if anyone else does or am I alone in thinking the missile defense dollars could be better spent elsewhere?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1336 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2438 times:

I am sure that the people who were on that Israeli airliner, that flew out of Kenya, feel that it is over thinking to put some sort of anti-missile device on an aircraft. You know, that was the flight that those terrorist tried to shoot down with a ground to air missile.

God bless everyone through Jesus with lots of love,

Jeff



God bless through Jesus, Jeff
User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2425 times:

True there have been attempt(s) at using a surface to air missile on an airliner but what most terrorist types including the ones in Kenya, and the yahoos in Afghanistan occasionally taking pot shots at our combat airplanes is that a surface to air missile requires a bit more skill from its user than yelling Allah akbar and mashing the trigger. And if the missile is using a passive IR seeker how is anyone going to know its back there? In my limited experience sitting up front in airliners at airshows and other times I can manage talk my way into sitting in one of the front seats I noticed its sorta hard to check 6. Not even considering the pilot and co-pilot have more important things to do right after takeoff than looking for a smoke trail. Plus consider the difficulty in smuggling one of those missiles into the country, granted its far from impossible but why worry about the threat that may not be there when there is one that can be bought over the counter probably within a 10min drive of the airport

User currently offlineAviatortj From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1838 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2389 times:

Startvalve-

I was reading in my local newspaper a few weeks ago about these SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles). Anyways, I found the ideas contradicting because although the TSA felt the need to increase patrols around the airports, the article said that most SAMs can go up to 10000 ft in altitude and 5 miles distance. Now maybe I have bad logic, but I live within 5 miles of my airport. In fact near the downwind path for one of the runways, say a terrorist lived where I did; Would they go to the airport to fire the SAM where security is stepped up? Why not stay covert in the backyard, or go out on a boat to fire? Does anybody else see problems with this?

In addition to that, there was also the mention of putting missile defense on the planes. The article I read said $10 million per plane as an estimate. Your article guessed the cost of retrofitting the fleet would be $10-$100 billion.

I say we step up security at the borders and inbound cargo before we get obsence with our airliners. I love this country and voted some of these folks in, but I am becoming very concerned with our future.

I would love to hear what others have to say about this topic. Let's also be sure to stay civil.  Smile

~TJ


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2381 times:

I would like to know where they are comming up with the figures for the cost.

The US Army back in the 1960's developed a number of systems to defeat those new IR type of missles in aircraft that wheren't originally designed for it, and because of the large number of those aircraft that where going to Nam, those systems had to be low cost.

Most involved either burning Jet A in a pod directly from the aircrafts tanks to create the hot flashes that confuse the seeker head, or in some cases the pod had it's own fuel supply. The fuel was used to generate the heat used to confuse, and was important because a lot of aircraft that wheren't designed with IR jammers in mind lacked the power to electricly heat the sensons.

Why is it that expensive to develop one today.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2378 times:

I totally agree TJ... I think we can bet who would be paying the bill if it was decided we needed this system on all commercial airplanes.. Anyone want to guess what this mod would do to ticket prices? But I must say seeing a 747 deploy enough flares to cover its rear would be quite a sight. And PLEASE lets stay civil with this, I honestly do want to hear the input of others

User currently offlineFrntman From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 209 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2372 times:

Without violating any CFRs or FARs, there have been numerous notifications to airlines and airport regarding MANPADs.


User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

I think it's possible that this will one day become a requirement, althought not due to overwhelming risk -- rather due to liability issues. Given the incident with the Israeli airliner, it seems likely that someday, somewhere in the world, terrorists will down an airliner with a Stinger or similar missile. If that by chance happens to an American airliner, every family of every passenger on board will file a billion-dollar lawsuit against the airline for not foreseeing and preventing the act. The remaining airlines will probably determine it's cheaper to equip their fleets with anti-IR tracking devices than to face similar lawsuits.

Of course, sometime after that, terrorists will down another plane using an entirely different method, and a multi-billion dollar, government subsidized security program will address that need as well. And then something after that ... You get the idea.

I would have no qualms whatsoever about flying on aboard an airliner in any part of the world without missile jamming equipment. Well, at least no more qualms than flying on an airliner with the jamming equipment -- there are part of the world in which I'd care not to fly, though generally not due to terrorist issues.



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2340 times:

>>>is this really necessary? Or are we a day late and a dollar short like almost all of the new security measures being put in place. I really think we are overthinking the matter. As many of you may know there are .50 rifles availible on the market to civilians. for around $8000 last i checked

That last item may well be, but it's a separate issue from the first one.

If the events of 09/11/2001 taught us -anything- it's that bad stuff (beyond our worst dreams) can happen. The attempted shootdown of the 757 in Kenya should demonstrate the risk. There are zillions of these weapons around, and it would seem to be just a matter of time before someone gets one either into the US, or close enough to a US coastal airport to use it. They caught that group trying to get one in via EWR (albeit in inert one) but what about the one they may -not- catch. If -one- gets through, and is successfully used, it will have had the same effect as 1,000 getting in, i.e. nobody, and I mean -nobody- will dare get on an airliner. (If they did it once...) The effect on the economy would be worse and longer lasting than the events of 9/11.

Make no mistake--installing IRCM equipment of the commercial fleet would be a costly undertaking, but that cost would still be a bargain compared to the economy being trashed for a lengthy period of time. The existing IRCM technology is proven, since it's already flying (and has been for years) on AF1, NASA's 747 SCA, and other high-value VIP aircraft.

A major stumbling block, I think, could be the production of mass quantities of the IRCM equipment itself. It was reported a few weeks back that 8 different aerospace companies capable of producing the IRCM devices met in Washington. Presumably, this was -not- to award -one- company the contract for all the marbles, but to coordinate production of the devices by all 8 firms so as to get them installed industry-wide ASAP.

As far as other close-in threats to aircraft, sure, they're out there, and addressing those threats is a completely separate issue. There are some airports like DFW and DEN (and others) where there's lots of real estate around as a buffer. There are other airports where you could hit an aircraft on short final with a rock. As many spotters are finding out, airport police and other folks are approaching perimeter security with a new emphasis.

If folks start using those .50's, they'll deal with that too...




User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2314 times:

My point sort of was are we going to go prepare for the less likely occurrence and let something obvious slip by under our noses? Or will the security people start using their heads instead of making decisions based on who shows up for show and tell with the coolest toys. I am no terrorist but if I were going to do something as awful as bringing down an airliner what would be the better way? Spend months and millions sneaking a missile into the country that my evil minions may or may not be able to operate correctly or go the low tech route? As much as we would love to think it the new breed of terrorists are not completely stupid, at least their leadership isn't. And how stupid is the TSA or homeland security dept or whoever going to look when someone drops an IR jammer equipped airliner with something that anyone can buy?

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2307 times:

I'm sorry, but I think you've missed my point. They shouldn't (and won't) pursue one measure like IRCM devices to the complete exclusion of taking other measures for other threats like the one you mentioned.

User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2279 times:

You may be right but I cannot help but think that the more security we get the less secure we are.. Did anyone else see that article about ABC smuggling a chunk of depleted uranium from Indonesia on a container ship? All that with our new, tighter border security which should have at least suggested someone taking a better look at what was in the container. Anyone think airlines should start training the pilots to do some evasive maneuvers?

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2247 times:

>>>Anyone think airlines should start training the pilots to do some evasive maneuvers?

If that's intended to attempt to defeat a missile fired at them, that missile will be coming at them behind, since it's most likely an IR that's locked-on to the heat of the engines. Thus, the pilots would never see it, let alone know precisely when to commence evasive action. Additionally, airline aircraft are not exactly nimble/agile fighters when it comes to manuevers...


User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2221 times:

The comment about the evasive maneuvers was not meant to be 100% serious but I have seen more ridiculous things done... Like searching every nook and cranny of some 90 year old woman and her luggage

User currently offlineVC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3701 posts, RR: 34
Reply 14, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2206 times:
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True there have been attempt(s) at using a surface to air missile on an airliner but what most terrorist types including the ones in Kenya, and the yahoos in Afghanistan occasionally taking pot shots at our combat airplanes is that a surface to air missile requires a bit more skill from its user than yelling Allah akbar and mashing the trigger.

Well the Afgans managed to hit their DC10 with a SAM in the early '80's. The missile hit the #1 Eng but the warhead failed to explode. The LP turbine shattered and peppered the underside of the left wing with shrapnel


User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2193 times:

In the 80s the afghans were using stingers our CIA supplied to them and they had training on how to use them... We intended for them to use them for the purpose of making soviet helicopter pilots nervous.. The new generation lacks that training (but not the hardware)as they have demonstrated. Apparently important technical skills are not being handed down. Sad that the afghan family unit has deteriorated to where a father no longer takes his son in the back yard and teaches him how to fire surface to air missiles anymore.

User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2144 times:

Perhaps it's a priority, but honestly I believe the money is best spent elsewhere in aviation safety.


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineKay From France, joined Mar 2002, 1884 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (11 years 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2101 times:

I do not usually encourage degradation in language or unrespectful treatment of other persons or groups, whoever they are (afghans, whatever)... But I gotta say Startvalve every single time you talk about whoever you are talking about the way you talk about them I laugh my ass off!!!!...

User currently offlineBen From Switzerland, joined Aug 1999, 1391 posts, RR: 50
Reply 18, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2052 times:

And if the missile is using a passive IR seeker how is anyone going to know its back there?

There is a sensor that detects light at a specific point in the spectrum which is emitted by the missile's exhaust. It's easy to detect.

However.. it's also easy to 'jam' that detector. Such a device is incredibly cheap. If you can afford a few million for a SAM, spending $100 (that's all!) for a 'jamming device' to confuse the sensor and ensure your missile hits the target is nothing.

I suspect that even if the 757 in Kenya had IRCM, it didn't save the aircraft in itself. Lack of training and experience of the terrorists probably had more to do with it. As someone else said above, it's not just a case of point and shoot.

Many of the VIP 747SPs as owned by Kings/Sheikhs/etc in the middle east which we see at Heathrow have missile defences. You can see the extra 'bumps' on the trailing edges of the engine pylons.


User currently offlineStartvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1984 times:

Thank you very much Kay... I make an effort not to take myself too seriously and if everyone can get a little laugh out of an otherwise less than uplifting subject I feel I have done my job

User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6858 posts, RR: 75
Reply 20, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1946 times:

How easy is it to service a seeker head ? An unserviced seeker head is as good as firing an arrow at an A10 pointing at you...

I do not think that man-portable SAMs are as crude as RPGs in requiring servicing... Gyros, batteries, etc etc etc...

Anyway, install a IRCM and well, they'll go to TV-guided missiles... a bit more expensive of course for the terrorists.

How about flying your Cessna172 onto a taxying 747 instead? Hey, maybe they'll start banning general aviation!

Sorry to sound morbid...



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineJeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1336 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (10 years 12 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1916 times:

Dear Startvalve,

You do make some very good and funny observations. However, you said earlier you worry that we may miss an obvious form of attack while worrying about such things as SAMS. I think part of the problem is that terrorist seem to think on such a different level then most other people so it is hard to imagine what is obvious to them. However, on the other hand like you, I too worry that with so many rules we could be giving up our civil rights.

God bless through Jesus with love,

Jeff



God bless through Jesus, Jeff
User currently offlineBhill From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 972 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 12 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1890 times:

Guy's..I think we need to be realistic. You can mount whatever you want to on an aircraft..If a sicko really wanted to destroy it, he would, no matter what we did. Kinda like burglers, for a talented burgler, the alarm system just slows 'em down....

Cheers,

Bob



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