Flying just became a little safer on Thursday, at least against shoulder fired missiles, as the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority authorized the use of the "Flight Guard" self-protection system for all civilian flights on B-767 models.
Manufactured by ELTA, a daughter company of Israel Aircraft Industries, which was tendered production rights by the Israeli government, the Flight Guard was finally approved for civilian flights after a series of exhausting tests over a long period of time, even though the Israeli Air Force as well as other militaries around the world already use the system.
Israel Aircraft Industries CEO Udi Zohar said, "The system which was originally meant for military use has been adapted to meet civilian needs."
The system is based around miniaturized pulse sensors, which can easily be located to give all round aerial coverage. The sensors scan the area around the plane for any danger, and are used to automatically trigger the release of flares which function as decoys to draw the target away from the aircraft. The system gives greater than 99% probability of missile detection, and has a very low false alarm rate.
The hope is that companies around the world will see the system as the definitive answer to one of the most lethal threats to rise in the post September 11 era - the heat seeker shoulder missile, which is easy to use, and easy to hide and carry.