What’s shocking is that its taken so long. There have been attempted attacks – especially on El Al flights (see Kenya), and it seems like this would be a high profile terror target – shooting down a planeload of Americans.
As many as three American Airlines passenger jets will be outfitted this spring with laser technology intended to protect planes from missile attacks.
The technology is intended to stop attacks by detecting heat from missiles, then responding in a fraction of a second by firing laser beams to jam the missiles’ guidance systems.
The use of a signal to mimic a missile attack has already been tested in the air, said Tim Wagner, an American Airlines spokesman. Those tests also showed that the anti-missile system didn’t interfere with the jet’s other controls, officials said.
Officials said yesterday that the anti-missile system would not be tested on flights that carry passengers. The tests, which could involve more than 1,000 flights, will determine how the technology holds up under the rigors of flight, they said.