Israeli plane headed to UAE equipped with system to protect from missiles

The DIRCM by Elbit System has been placed on commercial and military jets across the world.

El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures (photo credit: ELBIT)
El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures
(photo credit: ELBIT)
The El Al plane that flew on Monday from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi was equipped with a missile-defense system to protect it against aerial threats.
The Elbit Systems Directed IR Countermeasures (DIRCM) protects aircraft by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats, including heat-seeking ground-to-air missiles and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. They also are known as man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs).

El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures (Credit: Elbit)El Al plane equipped with Elbit's Directed IR Countermeasures (Credit: Elbit)
The plane, the first direct flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, was equipped with extra security. It flew with a high-level American and Israeli delegation over Saudi airspace.
Elbit System’s DIRCM integrates Advanced Fiber Laser Technology along with a high-frame-rate thermal camera and a small highly dynamic mirror turret. Its four cameras can detect the launch of a missile and aim the laser beam toward the missile’s heat-seeking warhead to blind it and divert it from the aircraft.
The system has been installed on commercial Israeli aircraft, the Italian Air Force’s C27J, C130J and AW101 helicopter platforms, the Brazilian Air Force’s KC-390 and NATO’s Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF).
The system was installed over the last few days on the El Al plane.
Commercial aircraft tend to fly at altitudes that are out of range of most surface-to-air missiles. But they are vulnerable during landings and takeoffs when they are still low enough to be targeted by shoulder-launched missiles launched by terrorists.
The impetus for developing a missile-defense system for commercial airliners came following an attempt by al-Qaeda to shoot down an Israeli passenger plane in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002. The missile barely missed the plane.