>>>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 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...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.