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Anti-Missile Technology To Be Tested on Commercial Jets 490

Posted by Zonk
from the because-our-airline-tickets-were-too-cheap dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "As many as three American Airlines passenger jets will be outfitted this spring with laser technology intended to protect planes from missile attacks. The tests, which could involve more than 1,000 flights, will determine how the technology holds up under the rigors of flight. 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. A Rand study in 2005 estimated it would cost about $11 billion to protect every US airliner from shoulder-fired missiles. Over 20 years, the cost to develop, procure and operate anti-missile systems could hit $40 billion."
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Anti-Missile Technology To Be Tested on Commercial Jets

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  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cally (10873) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @07:48PM (#21936422) Homepage
    ...will the passengers on these airlines be told that SAMs will be launched at them in order to test the anti-missile defences?
    • by arkhan_jg (618674)
      And did anyone think about what will happen when these planes are specifically hijacked by terrorists in order to fly into a tall building fitted with an anti-air missile system?
      We're through the looking glass here people...
      • by Veinor (871770)
        The lasers go on the planes, they're not being fired at the planes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2008 @07:50PM (#21936438)
    Not a single passenger jet has been downed from the type of missiles these "high power lasers" are supposed to be able to prevent. Not a single one.
    • Israeli lobby (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is the work of the Israeli lobby. The technology used is designed by and used on El-Al (the national Israeli airline). They've been heavily campaigning in the US for a contract. Quite frankly those $11 billion dollars belong somewhere else.
      • Re:Israeli lobby (Score:5, Informative)

        by Zeinfeld (263942) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:26PM (#21936790) Homepage
        This is the work of the Israeli lobby. The technology used is designed by and used on El-Al (the national Israeli airline). They've been heavily campaigning in the US for a contract. Quite frankly those $11 billion dollars belong somewhere else.

        The article says that the system being tested was developed by BAE which is a British company.

        Hard to see how BAE could be very close to an Israeli defense company given that 1) the largest single contract BAE has outside NATO is to supply aircraft to Saudi Arabia and 2) the UK government imposed a partial embargo on sales of military equipment to Israel after Israel broke a previous undertaking not to use UK supplied arms in the occupied territories.

        This is not about pork, that will come later on. Its about trying to create the illusion of safety and quite likely give a pump to the start wars boondoggle. Its a pretty idiotic idea regardless. The way to stop people shooting down planes is to hand out a slotting to anyone who does: an accountability approach.

        • The way to stop people shooting down planes is to hand out a slotting to anyone who does: an accountability approach.

          What is a slotting?
    • by dasunt (249686)

      Not a single passenger jet has been downed from the type of missiles these "high power lasers" are supposed to be able to prevent. Not a single one.

      That won't prevent a company from creating a need to fill. If they do it right, they may even be eligible for government grants in their fight against the "terrorists".

    • I have no opinion as to whether or not there was a cover up, but it is interesting to note that there were never any safety bulletins from the FAA as a result of their investigation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brandano (1192819)
      Not sure bout that. This incident http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerolinee_Itavia_Flight_870 [wikipedia.org] has not been cleared yet, and some radar tapes that could have been interesting have mysteriously disappeared, including those of an US carrier that was docked in the Naples port. And I have seen some impressive pictures of an Alitalia DC8 landing with a hole between the two left egines after being struck by an IR missile a few years earlier. Apparently the missile couldn't decide between the two engines and struck in
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by squidguy (846256)
      Not a single passenger jet has been downed from the type of missiles these "high power lasers" are supposed to be able to prevent. Not a single one.
      True, but it's only a matter of time (or semantics). Look at what happened in Baghdad to a DHL A300: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_Baghdad_DHL_attempted_shootdown_incident [wikipedia.org]
      It could have just have easily been carrying passengers (vice a cargo variant) elsewhere in the world, like an El Al flight out of Mombassa. Only because of the skill of the aircrew
    • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Sunday January 06, 2008 @09:10PM (#21937126)
      Not a single passenger jet has been downed from the type of missiles these "high power lasers" are supposed to be able to prevent. Not a single one.

      Only through dumb luck.

      Example 1. [nytimes.com]

      Example 2. [nytimes.com] (Be sure to scroll down and read about the Israeli 757 that was fired upon in Kenya.)

      Example 3. [aircraftre...center.com] (Ok, not a passenger plane, but the terrorists apparently thought it was... and it is a common airliner.)

      It's only a matter of time, and everybody knows it.

      You know what the FAA does when it has a situation that it knows will eventually result in a disaster costing hundreds of lives? They try to fix it. That's part of their job.
      • by bogjobber (880402) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @11:49PM (#21938160)

        Why spend $11 billion to stop a threat that is basically non-existent? Those incidents you pointed out happened in insecure areas, and even then they didn't succeed. The threat to American passenger planes in the US (and really 99% of everywhere else) is so small you probably can't even measure it. This is a boondoggle that will do nothing other than take tax money and put it into the hands of defense contractors. That money could be put towards something far more productive than this, and something that could save far more lives.

        Ultimate safety is not possible, and it's not even desirable (IMHO of course). If we spent this much money on protecting every conceivable way for terrorists to attack us, we would go bankrupt. Preventative action is only possible to a certain extent. Take care of the low-hanging fruit, then let the rest of it be handled by law enforcement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by adolf (21054)
        Hundreds of lives.

        Hundreds.

        Billions of dollars to save hundreds of lives.

        Amazing.

        Thanks for the humorous diversion. Can we get back to spending my money on something more productive, now?

        Sincerely,

        Taxpayer

  • When has a commercial airliner been shot down by a missile? Or is this just someone trying to suck more money out of me when I fly again.
    • by KillerCow (213458)
      I believe it's exactly zero. There were early reports of some airliner that may have been shot down by a missile, but it turned out to be mechanical failure.

      Commercial airliners fly too high and too fast to be vulnerable to this. They would only be vulnerable during take-offs and landings where it would be better to defend the airfields. Even then, there hasn't been a single incident.

      This is just wasted effort. It would be better to spend the 40 billion dollars on training security staff.
      • by Firethorn (177587) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @09:13PM (#21937160) Homepage Journal
        This is just wasted effort. It would be better to spend the 40 billion dollars on training security staff.

        This strikes me much like many other proposals: There are many other fields that a $40 billion investment would save many more lives. Improving car crash standards a bit, for example.

        It's like banning the .50BMG in California because of it's usefulness to terrorists. Never mind that there haven't been many incidents worldwide of terrorists using it, much less in the USA/Europe. The only case I know of where it was used in a crime caused no fatalities - oh yeah, and it was the guy who built a tank out of his bulldozer. Not exactly a guy concerned with practicality. For the cost of a .50BMG rifle you can get a lot of explosives - which terrorists do have a history of using.

        Yes, I'm performing risk analysis - I'm not saying that terrorists won't manage to shoot down a commercial aircraft with a manpad, but is it worth $40 BILLION to try to stop it? A full plane would average what, 300 people? Even if it saves a plane - that's $133 million per life saved. Makes health care look cheap.

        Right now, going by history - 300 people X zero average incidents per year = 0 average dead per year.

        I mean - this system isn't guaranteed to work, even if they do shoot a IR missile at the plane(and the odds are currently low that they will).

        I think we need to step back and stop concentrating on air travel so much. I mean, the terrorists attack plenty of places other than airlines. That was, relatively speaking, a one time deal. We'd be better off spending the money protecting malls and schools.
    • by BeanThere (28381)

      About 4 seconds of Googling shows this kind of thing has happened before and can happen, e.g. this incident [boston.com]. Not really a commercial airliner in that case, but it could just as well have been.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by timeOday (582209)
        From your link: "Four days later, a Belarus official confirmed the plane had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade." The proposed system dazzles IR sensors with a laser. It would do nothing against RPG's, which are unguided.
    • wasn't there an airliner shot down over USSR airspace a few years ago? I can't seem to remember how it was shot down, but if it was a missile- that would be an example of it happening.
      • by imsabbel (611519)
        US also shot down an iran passanger airplane with >200 people on board way back during the gulf-war...
    • by Goonie (8651)
      The Wikipedia lists five [wikipedia.org] incidents where these missiles have allegedly been launched at civilian aircraft.

      Of the four confirmed firings, two planes were shot down, one was hit but landed safely, and another missed entirely.

      That said, there are likely to be ways that $10 billion could be spent to save more lives. For instance, your chances of surviving a heart attack are better in a casino than in a hospital [latimes.com], because you're more likely to receive defibrillator treatment quickly in a casino. Would $10 bil

    • by forkazoo (138186)

      When has a commercial airliner been shot down by a missile? Or is this just someone trying to suck more money out of me when I fly again.

      Indeed. If we spent 40 billion dollars on automatic self-driving cars, we could basically elliminate roadway accidents and save many thousands of lives. Or make a high speed train network that doesn't have the dangers or air travel. Or, we could just save 40 billion dollars and call it a victory. Spending 40 billion dollars to develop an anti missile system is just abs

    • It has been attempted. The most publishised case was an attack on an El Al aircraft in Kenia. Fortunately, that one had an anti-missile system installed and the two missiles were distracted.
    • Several incidents (Score:3, Informative)

      by Simonetta (207550)
      There have been several incidents where commercial airliners have been shot down. Nearly all were downed by official military. The fact that there have been so few attests to the professionalism of the various militaries.

      In the late 1960's, Israel shot down a Jordanian airliner. In the early 1980's, an Iranian airliner was shot down by an American missile. The American destroyer was off-shore an Iranian city (Abidan, I believe) and was being attacked at the time by several Iranian PT boa
      • by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Monday January 07, 2008 @09:57AM (#21941440) Homepage Journal
        Hmm, despite being modded informative, the parent is quite badly informed in spots:

        - The US warship, the USS Vincennes, which shot down the Iranian Airbus was *NOT* under attack by boats and the aircraft was not on final approach. Crew believed the Airbus was an Iranian F-14 and deliberately shot it down.

        The straits of Hormuz are so narrow, it's impossible to *not* be near the Iranian shore. The same holds true, to a lesser degree, for the entire gulf.

        - "In 1987, Islamic terrorists working with Libya blew up a British Airways 747 over Scotland."

        Several problems with this statement: Firstly, The plane was not "shot down", as per the lead-in to your comment. Secondly, they were not Islamic terrorists - they were believed to be agents of the intelligence service(s) of Libyan (exactly who is unknown, the man convicted for the bombing may well end-up being found to have been wrongfully convicted, and may be released).

        - "In 2000, the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaida, attempted to blow up between six and twelve commercial airliners flying across the Pacific at the same time. This plot was discovered at the last minute."

        This sounds a bit speculative, and you've provided little information. Can you provide more details and/or references?

        - "A few years after that, Islamic terrorists based in the UK attempted to cause explosions on several airliners by mixing ordinary household liquids into explosive combinations while the plane's were in flight. This plot was foiled by inspectors who noticed several passengers attempting to board the aircraft while carrying unusually large amounts of legal but curious household chemicals."

        This is utter rubbish.

        Those charged had not bought tickets, so there's no way this plot could have been foiled just prior to boarding. Some didn't even have passports. Most of those arrested were not charged. The rest have not yet been tried. Even if those charged were plotting to blow up planes (and there is doubt), there is a shadow, nay a huge pall, over the viability of liquid, binary explosives being used by passengers to blow up aircraft.
  • HUGE FUCKING OVERKILL?

    This is why you Americans need Ron Paul...
  • By the way this will likely go through without a hitch.
    If they had proposed testing on a plane-ful of bunnies, it'd be stopped faster than Hitler.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      If they had proposed testing on a plane-ful of bunnies, it'd be stopped faster than Hitler.

      You mean in less than 12 years?

    • it'd be stopped faster than Hitler.
      you mean after a long, drawn out war, in which millions are killed and left homeless? Were talking about a TIME person of the year here...
  • by Cosmicalstorm (1124967) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @07:57PM (#21936498)
    A german police chief was asked on TV the day of the London bombings what extra measures should be taken. He said: "None. The measures are effective as they can be; we cannot avoid all terrorist attacks just as we cannot avoid all crime." I was impressed, He was a really intelligent man. A shame nobody bothered to inform the manufacturers and proponents of this system about this particular wisdom.
  • RPG Threat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @07:58PM (#21936500)

    The real threat is someone standing at the end of a runway (on a building top or in a road) and firing an RPG. Didn't the IRA do that? Seems that RPGs would be easier to get then frickin' heat-seeking missiles.

    This seems like overkill given the threat level. I'm willing to live with the risk of heat-seeking missiles shooting me down in mid-flight.
  • Moar 9/11 plz! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @07:58PM (#21936504)

    So if we legitimately have to shoot down an hijacked airliner as we should have in September 2001, we won't be able to shoot an AIM-9 at it, we'll have to get close enough in order to shoot it down with the fighter's gun?

    Why test it on commercial jets when it'd be much more useful on military planes to say help with anti-missile countermeasures such as flares?

    • So if we legitimately have to shoot down an hijacked airliner as we should have in September 2001, we won't be able to shoot an AIM-9 at it, we'll have to get close enough in order to shoot it down with the fighter's gun?
      I'm sure they haven't thought of having a signal broadcast from a satellite to turn off the anti-missile technology on a plane-by-plane basis, fully encrypted up the wazoo to prevent unauthorized use. Think OnStar(TM) for airlines.
       
      • I'm sure they haven't thought of having a signal broadcast from a satellite to turn off the anti-missile technology on a plane-by-plane basis, fully encrypted up the wazoo to prevent unauthorized use.

        I'm sure they have, but on the other hand, what if the hijacker climbs down into the avionics room and bypasses the security? Or just disconnects the antenna? The GP has a valid point. Such a defense could easily work against us, and given the way the government has been handling security theater to date, it
    • Actually, I doubt that the simple jammer installed on an airliner would be able to defeat the seeker heads of a modern AIM-9 variant that easily. But presumably a fighter jet would first get close enough to the target to do a visual inspection, which would mean that it would be well within gun range. And besides that, most US fighters carry AIM-120 as well, which does not use IR for guidance or fusing, so would be reasonably effective.

      The other side of the issue is that, of course, not all man-portable ai

  • Sharks with Laser Beams. For disrupting torpedos. Dr. Evil's going underwater with his next base, mark my words.
  • Feed the fear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:00PM (#21936526)
    Politicians, particularly right wing, love fear and feeding the "we're under attack" myth. It makes people vote "the right way" - important in an election year. It also lubricates the process for pork barrel spending.

    As others have pointed out, this is all rather silly since missile attacks do not constitute a large threat. Still, it should be easy to pressure the decision makers to adopt this technology. Imagine if you were to have vetoed this technology and a plane got shot down. Far easier to spend Joe Citizen''s money. After all, $11bn is only $30-odd per US citizen.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:01PM (#21936536) Homepage Journal
    Number of passenger planes shot down by heat seeking missiles: 0
    Number of passenger planes used as missiles: 3

    So, err, don't you want the ability to shoot down passenger planes? Or is the next step to install "special" missiles on buildings that might have passenger planes flown into them in the future which can bypass the anti-missile system? And if that's the plan, what's to stop them bad guys (who are under every bed) from using those missiles to shoot down the planes?
    • by Veinor (871770)
      What? No. The planes will have lasers equipped on them. RTFS.
  • Why? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:03PM (#21936546)
    Why do all of you people detracting from this hate freedom? Do you want the terrorists to win?

    Unless some defence contractor can make $40 billion out of this, the terrorists have already won.
  • uncle SAM (Score:3, Funny)

    by garlicbready (846542) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:03PM (#21936558)
    when someone leans across and says
    what's that noise?
    just say don't worry it's just uncle SAM

    a cheaper way might be to paint clouds on the side of the aircraft for camouflage
    or if it's a green laser they're using how about some luminous green paint
    to be honest I'd think it would be slightly cheaper to try and avoid a situation where someone wants to fire missiles at you in the first place (usually it's a good idea)
  • by Bovineck (200068) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:06PM (#21936588)
    In other news, New Zealand equips all tractors with laser guided missiles to protect against terrorist sheep; and in Barbados the government combats terrorism by issuing tape recorders designed to look like coconuts to all citizens.

    The truly insane keep doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result...
    • In other news, New Zealand equips all tractors with laser guided missiles to protect against terrorist sheep

      Thank you for one of the funniest mental images I've yet gotten from a slashdot post. Particularly since my imagination expanded on the scenario and had sheep after sheep with dynamite trapped to them throwing themselves at a tractor which kept zapping them with a laser. Would that I had Flash animation abilities. *sigh*

    • In other news, New Zealand equips all tractors with laser guided missiles to protect against terrorist sheep; and in Barbados the government combats terrorism by issuing tape recorders designed to look like coconuts to all citizens.

      The truly insane keep doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result...

      When I was in the Pentagon, there was a simulation developed in another group where they were trying to model the effects of kangaroos scattering when frightened by helicopters. The scattering behavior can warn enemy units of the helicopter approach, so pilots needed to be trained to avoid them. The industrious contractors worked day and night to add kangaroos to the flight simulator. When finished, the first pilots tested the new simulator.

      The helicopter cleared a hill and startled a group of kangaroos

  • They are weapons (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gznork26 (1195943) <gznork26@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:08PM (#21936606) Homepage
    The official description may be that they are defensive, that they are only for jamming the guidance systems of enemy missiles, but they are weapons nonetheless. Once the public has swallowed the innocuous cover story, they can install much more capable systems on commercial aircraft. Any aircraft with weapons installed by the 'Defense" Department is military by nature, regardless of whether it carries civilian passengers. Those passengers will serve as human shields to cow others from shooting down these planes.

    Any nation that allows US commercial aircraft into their airspace has suddenly agreed to letting the US military overfly their countries. Aircraft can be flown by remote control, including commercial aircraft with weapons. This is an extremely dangerous precedent. If another nation tried this, the US government would refuse them entry. Other nations are likely to respond the same way.

    Think of it as closing the US borders by coercing other nations to do it for us.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:08PM (#21936620) Homepage
    "The use of a signal to mimic a missile attack has already been tested in the air, said Tim Wagner, an American Airlines spokesman." Yeah, right. So they're not going to test it with real missile, which doesn't give a lot of confidence that it will actually work.

    Sounds like that "successful" antimissile test they did a year or so ago, where the missile was conveniently equipped with a GPS unit that continuously radioed its position to the antimissile system.

    On the other hand, are they going to use signals to "mimic" things that are not missile attacks... like near-miss encounters with other passenger jets, for example?

    "Burt Keirstead, director of BAE's commercial airline protection program, said BAE's contract requires it to prove that Jeteye will operate without failure for 3,000 hours of flight, and sets a goal of 4,500 hours."

    What constitutes a failure? If it shoots at a Medivac helicopter and brings it down, did it succeed or fail?
  • This is another example of using fear to loot our tax dollars and put them in the pockets of a chosen few greedy defense contractors.

    If the US government really wanted to protect the flying public, then they would spend more on hiring air traffic controllers, and step up maintenance inspections.

    How much per pound are they charging for this laser system. If any one would really look into the pricing of this, they would find it costs very little to develop and manufacture, and almost all the tax money we are
  • by usrusr (654450) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:21PM (#21936746) Homepage Journal
    all those other perfectly valid points aside - setting up those systems costs 11 billion (projected). but what does it cost the other side to get past them? if "they" can get one SAM, "they" will also be able to get three, practically for free in comparison to the cost of the defense systems. and high power laser systems, in contrast to what scifi movies try to make us believe, are rarely able to engage multiple targets in short succession. it's also not that far fetched to imagine a quickly rigged prototype guidance system that would not be influenced by laser blinding, also for a fraction of the cost of those billions.

    the good new is that according to the article the airline running those tests seems to be also very sceptical of those systems.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @08:29PM (#21936804) Journal
    Let's see, 50,000 people a year in the USA die in car accidents. NONE have died from stinger missiles, but the war machine wants to keep people afraid and docile, so they'll spend billions on a defence that will likely never be needed, or if it is, will only kill a microscopic fraction of the total number of people who have ever flown.

    In the meantime, they cut out all the funding for alternative energy funding in the last bill, so the USA can continue to be dependent on the oil tha sits under the homes and deserts of the people they want to defend their airliners against. Do we detect a pattern of utter stupidity here?

    RS

    • by c6gunner (950153)
      It never ceases to amaze me that this kind of crap gets modded insightful. Yes, absolutely, you're right, the US government has nothing better to do than try and scare you. That's the primary goal of all military ventures. You've foiled our secret plans!

      This is where we all slink away muttering "We would have gotten away for it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!"
  • If they're going to go out for that, I'd hope they'd also include one of the whole-airplane parachutes people were talking about a few years ago. Seems to me like your typical accidental in-flight failure is much more common than a missile attack.
  • Airliners are HUGE aircraft. Plus, they have redundant engines. Plus, the types of SAM systems we're probably worried about are shoulder launched since terrorists aren't going to be able to acquire or move larger systems. These smaller warheads probably can't take down an airliner under reasonable conditions. That all adds up to a waste of money to me.
  • Perhaps they're competing with Boeing [slashdot.org]....
  • But can they be attached to sharks?
  • Neither of the systems mentioned in subsequent research has ever been fielded in a combat environment.

    Long and short of it: it is unproven.

    Never mind the fact that there has never been an airliner downed by a MANPAD in the US.

    Regardless, consumers will refuse to fund AA in this venture. If AA's costs rise, they will just fly on another airline.
  • by Clueless Moron (548336) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @09:04PM (#21937088)

    A perfect opportunity to build a laser-jammer tracking missile.

    Why, as soon as the laser-jammer starts up, instead of tracking the now-lost IR signature, instead switch to a tracking system that uses that nice strong clear laser signal instead!

  • So..they make Antiaircraft laser technology avalilable and cheap so that expensive antiaircraft missiles are rendered obsolete.

    And later on when terrorists build technology based on these lasers thenselves to hit aircraft, they will come out with what? A tachion-laser detector coupled to anti-light lasers in each commercial airplane?
    • One way of attack is still far from bein obsolete: (ab)using the low paid airport workers to manually place the explosive inside the plane while it is still on the ground.
  • by LatencyKills (1213908) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @10:02PM (#21937470)
    I work for the company that builds it. I'll even go so far as to say that I had a hand in the design of several key systems and leave it at that. Point 1: The system proposed here is a variant of a system that is mounted on many military aircraft. It uses a laser to inject false tracking information into IR guided missiles. These missiles do not, for the most part, use focal plane arrays or any other similar technology. They have one pixel, and they use spatial modulation to generate corrective track and guidance information. The jamming laser cannot blind other pilots, shoot down other aircraft, or be used by the missile to generate valid track information (a concept we call home on jam). These systems are tested through many progressive levels using pieces of and then finally entire shoulder fired missile systems - real missiles, right out of the tube, with mass equivalents inserted in place of the warhead package. We shot real missiles at these systems dozens of times, and they work really, really well. Point 2: The shoulder fired threat is real. There have been attempts to smuggle missiles into this country, as well as shoot down commercial aircraft (in Kenya, not in the US). They are cheap, readily available on the black market, and any yahoo with five minutes training can use one. Point 3: Given both of the above, and with my paycheck riding on it, I still think it's a poor use of money. If you want to dollar cost average lives, I think there are other targets which have a greater possiblity for loss of life that can be protected for less money. What about using a SAR to try and keep pipe bombs out of malls or schools? What about a tracking system to keep an eye on LNG tanker trucks, a big mobile explodely temptation to terrorists if I ever saw one. 9-11 involved aircraft, but beyond that I think we're fixating a little too much.

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