(Illustration - Elbit Systems)
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Israel Has the World's Safest Airline, and It's About to Get Even Safer
But while we're on the subject, why can't we do that?
"What's the safest airline in the world? There's no question. It's El Al, Israel's national airline." -- CBS.
There are many factors that make El Al the No. 1 airline to fly if you don't want to worry about terrorism -- stringent security measures for all passengers, sky marshals aboard every plane, steel doors securing the cockpit. All of these reduce the risk that terrorists will make mischief inside a plane.
In 2002, terrorists armed with Russian Strela-2 surface-to-air missiles, or SAMs, attempted to shoot down an Israeli passenger liner taking off from the airport at Mombasa, Kenya. They missed, but Israel isn't trusting to the bad aim of terrorists to keep its planes safe in the future. For years, Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems has been developing a system of on-plane anti-missile defense that offers affordable protection to any civilian airliner.
Dubbed C-MUSIC, Elbit's system detects and warns a plane's aircrew of an incoming SAM, tracks the missile with a forward-looking infrared camera, and blasts it with a powerful laser to disable the missile -- causing it to detonate at a safe distance. Configured as a "pod" that can be attached to an airplane's fuselage, the entire system measures roughly 9 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet, and weighs about 350 pounds.