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Missile-Proof Jet

Here's what might be thought of as a good first step:

Jet with anti-missile system leaves LAX

LOS ANGELES - An MD-10 cargo jet equipped with Northrop Grumman's Guardian anti-missile system took off from Los Angeles International Airport on a commercial flight Tuesday, the company said.

The FedEx flight marked the start of operational testing and evaluation of the laser system designed to defend against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles during takeoffs and landings.


The system works by detecting a missile launch, honing in on the missile, and then hitting it with a laser which fries the guidance system. Of course, it's unfortunate that steps such as this have to be taken, but it's encouraging that they are being taken. The potential downside is that all commercial aircraft will be fitted with these systems just as a new threat, completely immune to this defense, emerges.

One the other hand, we can expect that the version of this system that makes it out to commercial airliners will be considerably more robust than what's being tested now. Let's just hope that it's robust enough.


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