TEL AVIV Ñ 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
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.