Pols Demand Missile Defenses on Airliners

Thousands of surface-to-air missiles believed owned by terrorists
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2014 12:05 PM CDT
Pols Demand Missile Defenses on Airliners
   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A pair of prominent legislators are reviving a decade-old measure that would outfit passenger planes with anti-missile technology, at a cost of up to $2 million per $200 million plane, the New York Post reports. Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Steve Israel want on-board lasers, warning systems, flares, and infrared countermeasure systems on passenger planes to protect them against surface-to-air and shoulder-fired missiles. They’re calling on the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon, and the FAA to figure out how, the AP reports. "The tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, plus numerous missiles being fired near the Tel Aviv airport have made one thing clear this week: we cannot let this happen to an American passenger plane," Schumer says.

Homeland Security rejected this plan as too costly when Schumer and Israel brought it up in 2004. But since then, the technology has gotten cheaper and the terrorists more dangerous, Schumer argues with AM New York. The State Department estimates terrorists have thousands of surface-to air missiles worldwide; the weapons are portable and easily concealed, making them especially dangerous. And the lawmakers point out that since 1973, 920 people have been killed in 30 plane crashes caused by these weapons. "I believe we would all agree that no matter price, we must do everything we can do protect American fliers," he says. (Read more surface to air stories.)

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