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Do we need IR countermeasures on commercial jets?

Kristin Lewotsky
10/19/2011 06:47 PM EDT

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Quickbadger
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re: Do we need IR countermeasures on commercial jets?
Quickbadger   10/20/2011 7:44:30 PM
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Sorry, I can never get the spaces between lines to show up.

Quickbadger
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re: Do we need IR countermeasures on commercial jets?
Quickbadger   10/20/2011 7:43:25 PM
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Setting aside the former discussion, who can say what is adequate? You can install these laser CMs, but why not flares to provide the same mode of protection? How about chaff or jammers for the other threats? Would you then consider installing an entire electronic warfare suite to optimize the counter measure response? I am exaggerating here, but I think you see where I'm going. The problem with arbitrary requirements is that they are - arbitrary. Sure that are a lot of IR SAMs out there, but forcing commercial planes into an arms race is not affordable for anyone. If these systems sold for $9.95, weighed 3 ounces, drew negligible power and could be fastened onto aircraft with no skin penetrations they would be a no-brainer. But they are designed and priced such that only the military can come out on the right end of the cost/benefit ratio. Other than the fact that no attempts have been made (in civilized countries); the real risk to airliners is limited. They are only susceptible to MANPADS on take-off and landing. Another defense would be to institute security perimeters around airports and alter flight paths to reduce the MANPADS footprint. Easier said than done, but it would protect all planes servicing that airport.

Kristin Lewotsky
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re: Do we need IR countermeasures on commercial jets?
Kristin Lewotsky   10/20/2011 2:50:03 PM
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Let's set aside that aspect of the debate for a moment. What about the larger question of whether commercial aircraft should add IRCMs? Obviously, in a perfect world, everyone would be protected, but is there a way to accomplish that with commercial airlines that operate on razor-thin margins? We're not just looking at capital outlay, we're looking at maintenance and operating costs, as well as integration issues. How does the picture look from where you stand? Would it look different if we had already had an incident with a commercial airliner hit by a shoulder-mounted missile (and I'm not talking about the near miss in Mombasa)?

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re: Do we need IR countermeasures on commercial jets?
Quickbadger   10/20/2011 2:40:01 PM
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Commercial = PRIVATE It is up to the individual commercial enterprizes to determine if they should use IRCM systems. Note to author - the US Congress doesn't own a "Domestic Fleet". The US government has no constitutional authority to impose using these protective measures on private citizens unless they are working for the government.

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