Israel expedites missile warning systems for passenger jets
JERUSALEM — Israel has accelerated a program to protect
airliners against shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.
Officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the Finance
Ministry to fund a plan to speed up the procurement of missile-warning systems
for passengers jets of the former state-owned El Al airlines. They said
the missile-warning systems were to have been installed on six airliners,
but were delayed amid a dispute over payment.
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The Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority was believed to be developing
extended-range SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the PA has
acquired propellant for indigenous production.
"The main threat comes from Palestinian surface-to-air missiles," an
official said. "We know they have the SA-7, and we think they could bring
these missiles from the Gaza Strip into Israel."
Israeli airliners generally do not fly over the Gaza Strip. But
international air routes pass over Tel Aviv, about 50 kilometers from the
Officials said the Finance Ministry would allocate $5 million to equip
El Al planes with self-protection systems. The systems have been
manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Military Systems, and
include missile warning capabilities as well as chaffe and flare.
Officials said the government has invested 46 million shekels, or more
than $11 million to develop the system. One missile warning system has been
installed in an El Al jet, with five platforms awaiting equipping.