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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?
  • 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*

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2008 @10:56PM (#21937828)
    No, Akabar is much more likely to know that it's a trap.
  • 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. The animals scattered just as the were supposed to. The problem is that some of them took cover and started shooting back with shoulder mounted Stinger missiles. It turns out that the contractors started developing the kangaroos from a basic infantry class, changed the graphics and modified the behavior, but there were still links to the old code. Old defensive behavior occasionally got triggered in the new models.

    The upside was that the helicopter pilots learned to avoid the kangaroos.

  • by Ortega-Starfire (930563) on Monday January 07, 2008 @06:38AM (#21940448) Journal
    Just professional curiosity: my cruise missile plans at their cheapest usually still ended at around 3 to 3.5k. Did you cheat on the engines somehow, or other materials?

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