Report: Israel to equip airliners with anti-missile system as Libyan arms reach Gaza

By Reuters, HAARETZ

Israel has accelerated the installation of anti-missile defenses on its airliners, a security official told Reuters on Friday, seeing an enhanced risk of attack by militants using looted Libyan arms.

The security official’s comment came after Haaretz reported last month that improved quality of anti-aircraft missiles held by Hamas in Gaza is increasingly worrying the Israeli defense establishment.
El Al emergency landing – May 23, 2011

Hamas, the report indicated, recently managed to smuggle relatively advanced Russian missiles, which were looted from Libyan military warehouses, into the Gaza Strip.

On Friday, officials said Jets flown by El Al and two other Israeli carriers are being equipped with a locally made system known as C-Music that uses a laser to “blind” heat-seeking missiles, the official said, giving a 2013 target for fitting most of the fleet.

As a stop-gap, Israel is adapting air force counter-measures for use aboard civilian planes, said the official, who declined to elaborate on the technologies involved, or to be identified.

“We have long been aware of the threat and were ahead of the rest of the world in preparing for it. Libya has meant government orders to step things up even further,” the official said, citing intelligence assessments that chaos during the North African nation’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi allowed trafficking of Libyan shoulder-fired missiles to Palestinians and al Qaeda-linked groups in the Egyptian Sinai.

Israel began deploying another system, “Flight Guard”, on El Al after al Qaeda tried to shoot down a planeload of Israeli tourists in Kenya in 2002. Flight Guard’s use of diversionary flares set off safety concerns abroad and the Israelis turned to C-Music, manufactured by Elbit Systems Ltd.

According to the Israeli official, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is covering the $1 million to $1.5 million that it costs to fit C-Music to each plane.

The bathtub-sized pods, built into the planes’ bodies, increase drag in flight, meaning “a few million [dollars] a year” in extra fuel expenses, the official said, adding that this, too, would be borne by the government.

Israel’s main international gateway, Ben-Gurion Airport, is 10 km from the occupied West Bank where, along with the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinians want a state.

The Israeli official said he had no information indicating the presence of anti-aircraft missiles in the West Bank — unlike in Gaza, which has seen an influx of smuggled weaponry from Egypt since Israel withdrew settlers and soldiers in 2005.

The official said Netanyahu had, in closed-door discussions, described C-Music as a way to help reassure the Israeli public about security should the government one day return occupied land to the Palestinians under a peace agreement.

Asked for confirmation, Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, quoted him as saying that “in any possible peace deal there have to be effective security arrangements that can deal with a range of security threats, including shoulder-fired missiles”.

Israel also wants to protect traffic to its small airport in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, which abuts Jordan and Egypt, where Islamist militants have operated in the past. Armed infiltrators killed eight Israelis on the Egyptian border on Aug. 18.

November 12, 2011 | 2 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. Email rec’d

    I receive your blogs almost daily and I read pretty well all of them!
    I do have a problem with Israel which you be able to,resolve.

    Firstly, I think the Israelis brag and boast too much; they announce
    to great fanfare a system of tracking and altering the trajectory of rockets ……and then Hamas who probably don’t read Israeli stuff send in rockets ,which, surprise ,surprise ,destroy and kill.

    Wouldn’t it be better to keep their mouths shut–after all I don’t need and nor does anyone else need to know what they can or cannot do –and if they are able to destroy rockets, then do it! Don’t yap about it

    Bragging about what you can do and can’t, creates big credability gaps.

    Secondly,. Israel should hire some really superb advertising agencies to keep reminding everyone of Arab atrocities and medeival treatment of each other, the slave trade in Saudi and the rights and privileges which Arabs enjoy in Israel –more than in any Arab country. Also, portrayals of the extraordinary level of economic life in the West Bank and PLO areas.

    Thirdly, reduce ALL privileges to prisoners.These soft ,gentle management techniques have NEVER been shown to reduce or ameliorate any antagonism nor malevolence towards Israel.Indeed,I read of one of the released prisoners boasting that she was going right back to killing Israelis.

    In that neighborhood, anything less than severity is seen as weakness.

    And, for a real challenge :track the trajectory of rockets and try and return them to sender–whether that be a school,hospital, clinic or market place–nothing less than that will discourage the senders as well as causing their supporters to have second thoughts!
    good wishes,

    I replied that most of what Israel does do or can do is not disclosed

  2. How long must we play cat-and-mouse with these thugs? Two years? Five years? Ten?…

    For what it’s worth, I continually quote Miyamoto Musashi (author of the Book of Five Rings): To continuously defend without simultaneously (and effectively) counter-attacking is to invite death. One slip of the defender and he will be cut down.