In 2002, a Boeing (News - Alert) 757 charter plane owned by Israeli company Arkia Airlines was fired upon with two shoulder-launched Strela 2 surface-to-air missiles in Mombasa, Kenya, a tourist destination frequently visited by tourists from Tel Aviv. The two missiles narrowly missed the 757 that was carrying 261 passengers. This incident made Israeli officials take an attack of this kind very seriously, and prompted them to take measures that would prevent it from happening in the future. With the help of Elbit Systems Ltd., an anti-missile defense system was developed and the first tests were recently carried out successfully.
According to Yahoo News, "Elbit Systems Ltd. on Wednesday said its C-MUSIC system to protect large jets against shoulder-launched missiles from the ground passed tests. Elbit said it proved effective a number of times in protecting a Boeing 707 aircraft."
Elbit's recent tests proved that the shoulder-launched missile defense system, C-MUSIC, is working and it's ready to be implemented. Tests were carried out using a Boeing 707 that has the C-MUSIC system installed on board, but Elbit Systems stated that their anti-missile defense system can be installed in any aircraft.
C-MUSIC features the DIRCM defense technology, which protects aircrafts against shoulder-mounted missiles through the use of a thermal camera and an advanced fiber laser beam that diverts missiles from their trajectories. This technology was intended for military use, but due to the rising threat to passenger aircrafts, a new technology destined for civilian use was developed in parallel.
Besides having the possibility to be mounted on any airplane, Elbit's anti-missile system offers the advantage of being used to protect other aircrafts. Elbit's MUSIC is used for protect helicopters and small airplanes from shoulder-mounted missiles, J-MUSIC protects medium and large airplanes, C-MUSIC is only used for the protection of large airplanes and it was made particularly suitable for aircrafts that carry passengers and cargo.
The type of missiles that C-MUSIC was designed to protect against, the shoulder mounted missiles, are easily accessible to terrorist organizations around the world, being relatively easy to use, and having a low cost. In the past 30 years, these missiles are accountable for most incidents where an aircraft was shot down.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli