More than 13 years after the near disaster that triggered urgent government demands to defend commercial airliners from shoulder-launched missile attack, a solution is finally in hand, defense and industry sources said.
Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that SkyShield, developed by Elbit Systems, had successfully concluded operational tests and is certified for commercial use to counter the growing threat of man-portable surface-to-air missile systems (MANPADS).
“SkyShield has been validated under the most complex and sophisticated testing conditions ever conducted in Israel and is now ready to protect Israeli airlines,” said Israel Air Force Brig. Gen. Eitan Eshel, director of research and development at Israel’s MoD.
Also known as C-MUSIC, a commercial version of Elbit’s multi-spectral infrared countermeasure, SkyShield uses advanced laser technology and thermal imaging to deflect incoming threats by way of jamming.
Funded by Israel’s Transportation Ministry and managed by MoD in cooperation with Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority, SkyShield is the government’s belated response to a failed November 2002 attack in Mombasa, Kenya. In that event, terrorists targeted an Israeli charter flight with SA-7 missiles that narrowly missed the aircraft and the 261 people on board.
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