Israeli firm nears completion of anti-missile system for airliners

Monday, May 12, 2003

TEL AVIV Israel expects to complete development of its first missile warning system for civilian aircraft by the end of the year.

Israeli officials said the missile warning system will obtain the required certification by authorities at the end of 2003. The system will be marketed for installation on passenger and executive jets.

Officials said this will be the first missile warning system meant for civilian aircraft.

The system has been developed by Israel's state-owned defense industry. Officials said the key contractors were Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Military Industries.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered that funding for the project be increased in wake of a failed missile attack on an Israeli airliner in Kenya in December. The Israeli passenger jet was the target of an SA-7 missile believed fired by Al Qaida insurgents in the city of Mombasa.

Officials said the system will be presented at the Le Bourget air show outside Paris in June. They said the system would be mounted on a Boeing 737 passenger jet and would automatically detect and divert enemy missiles without the intervention of the pilot.

The system is based on a radar system by IAI's subsidiary, Elta Electronics Industries, and is meant to detect the firing of infrared, line-of-sight missiles. Officials said Elta's radar is based on its missile warning system supplied for fighter-jets.

The state-owned Israel Military Industries has provided the chaffe and flare systems meant to deflect enemy missiles. IMI has developed these systems for combat aircraft.

Officials said Elta will be responsible for certification of the system in the United States and the European Union, expected to be the main markets for the new product.

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