Saturday, January 5, 2008

Zap - Boom - Bang!

American Airlines Boeing 777. photo Adrian Pingstone

Passenger Jets to get Anti-Missile Lasers

The end of a runway is a magical place.

You can almost reach out and touch the planes soaring overhead.

Baby go BOOM.

Oh, come on... you've thought it.

A rifle, a rocket launcher, hell, a goddamn rock.

The Department of Homeland Security is finally doing something.

USA Today

Tens of thousands of airline passengers will soon be flying on jets outfitted with anti-missile systems as part of a new government test aimed at thwarting terrorists armed with shoulder-fired projectiles.

Three American Airlines Boeing 767-200s that fly daily round-trip routes between New York and California will receive the anti-missile laser jammers this spring, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which is spending $29 million on the tests.

Jets will fly with the jammer device mounted on the belly of the plane, between the wheels. The device works with sensors, also mounted on the plane, that detect a heat-seeking missile and shoot a laser at it to send the missile veering harmlessly off course.

Anti-missile systems have been tested on cargo planes. But "this is the first time these systems have been tested on actual passenger airlines in commercial service," says Burt Keirstead, director of commercial aircraft protection at BAE Systems, which developed the anti-missile device. "It's the ultimate consumer use of the equipment."

Officials emphasize that no missiles will be test-fired at the planes, which will fly between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and the international airports in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Oh... Well, that's a fucking relief.

“Bang, zoom, straight to the moon!”

h/t Firedoglake.