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MANPAD Missile defence too costly (merged)

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MANPAD Missile defence too costly (merged)

Old 26th Jan 2005, 06:56
  #1 (permalink)  
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MANPAD defence too costly

MANPAD counter measure costs outweigh benefits

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It would cost $11 billion to install anti-missile systems on the nation's 6,800 commercial airliners, and billions more to maintain the unproven systems, a study said Tuesday. According to the RAND study, the government should postpone a decision on installing the devices until they are more economical and reliable. The study said operating costs alone for the missile countermeasures would consume $2.1 billion a year -- almost half of the money spent annually on all transportation security.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 07:14
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maybe it would be a good idea if our US friends stop giving away missiles like care packets....especially not in areas like Afghanistan etc... yeah and if the Russians would pay their Army in such a way, that they don´t have to sell their stuff to make a living.

Maybe we could stop producing that crap....could help, couldn´t it ?
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 11:29
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That's the trouble with US foreign policy. Friend today, Rogue state/ axis of evil etc. tomorrow.
Bet they wish they hadn't dished out all those Stingers in Afghanistan.
What goes around comes around!
Here's hoping none of us get one up the chuff!
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 11:54
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Brain fade, yours would make a great marketing slogan for a missile manufacturer

"What goes around comes around"
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 14:03
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Surface To Air Missile Threat

About 18 months ago I wrote to the UK’s CAA with a suggestion to counter the surface to air missile threat. I am still awaiting their feedback but my suggestion is included here for open discussion:

1 Why do we all fly around announcing our identity by using airline-related callsigns and therefore giving terrorists time to arm and prepare their shot knowing who’s next “over the hedge”? In this technological age, I’m sure it should be possible to assign an airline-independent callsign (Varying everyday and unrelated to the Flight Number) as part of the flight plan that only ATC and those directly involved with the flight would know.

This measure would in itself take care of the lone shooter sitting along the line of the flight path with an Air Band radio waiting for the call “American 9876 … Clear take off 27R”. But what of the more complex situation with the missile-launching terrorist connected by mobile phone to a colleague acting as observer located off the centreline? “Yes, looks like BA / American (etc) to me … Arm & Fire when ready”.

This leads me on to point 2:

2 Why do we paint ourselves up like flying target practice boards? If the external colour schemes were also airline-independent then the terrorists wouldn’t know who they were aiming at and the risk of hitting a sympathising county’s aeroplane would force them to look for easier targets elsewhere. The marketing types could still paint their brands all over the ticket counters / aircraft interiors as they do now but externally we'd be making things much harder for the terrorists. And all for a fraction of the cost of incorporating costly & ineffective systems into each and every aeroplane only to find that the weapons systems have themselves evolved and rendered the countermeasures useless anyway.

Sure, there are problems (Harder ground movement control for example) but if several colour schemes were used (red/yellow/blue aeroplanes etc) then this could be tied into the callsign solution outlined in 1 above … “Blue 1234 … Line up behind Yellow 5678” etc. As long as these colours were airline (And nationality) independent then we would at least be making improvements.

More missed calls could also be a problem but could be followed up with a VHF Selcal to “wake up” the crew concerned?

You may think these suggestions stupid (and I may have overlooked something obvious) but now that the electronic countermeasures seem to have been deemed impractical (TOO COSTLY) we do need to consider all other avenues. I’m sure I’m not alone in my belief that an attack in the future is inevitable.

[Sorry if this is not the best place for this thread … Moderators please move as deemed fit]
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 14:11
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Well start by looking at the costs and benefits of it.

Cost: every plane is painted the same therefore airlines lose a huge chunk of prestiege and advertising as well as having to pay for it. I seem to remember BA paying about £60m to stick those 1960's carpets on their tails

Benefit: ever so slightly reduced chance of getting hit by a missile, frankly if someone wants the information about callsigns and so on, I'm sure they'll find a way to get it. And perhaps they know that only airline X operates a 777 out of airport Y in this 1 hour period.

I have never actually heard of an attempted surface-air missile launch on a Western carrier, has there been any?
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 14:16
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With your ideas you are going to get into very serious trouble with planespotters and aircraft photographers. You don't want to upset them; they're a lot more dangerous then the terrorists!

But seriously now, just how many civil airliners have been downed by surface to air missiles?

It's a nice idea on the surface but there would be so many other ways of establishing who's who without too much difficulty. So many people are involved with the preparation of a flight that it wouldn't be difficult to recruit someone "on the inside" to pass on the true identity of "Yellow 1234".
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 14:25
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You're also assuming that the terrorists actually care which aircraft they bring down. If its flying out of Heathrow, whether it be El Al, BA, Gulf Air, or Qantas, I dont think they'd really give a hoot - its going to have exactly the same effect regardless.

You could also argue that aircraft type could dictate what the target is - bigger aircraft = bigger prize.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 14:53
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LondonJ, there has been at least one deliberate attempt last year in Iraq on an A300? frieghter which knocked out at least some of the controls. The crew managed to get the bird down successfully using thrust (rather like Sioux City DC-10) but the missile caused a heap of damage to the outer-wing.

There have been "mistakes" over the years but don't have time to recall them right now.

Sorry for rushed reply.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 15:06
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The most notable confirmed surface to air missile attack on a civilian airliner that I have heard of was done by the US Navy. I also believe Israeli fighters shot down a Libyan 727 in the 70's, Korean Airlines have had TWO shoot-downs plus an Italian DC9 was also shot down by what turned out after years of denials to have been an air to air missile.

Whatever the colour scheme, surely the terrorists could work out which was which if they really wanted to -and even if they couldn't, would they care less?
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 15:07
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Any new scheme would need to be designed very carefully to avoid errors due to missidentification... Did he say 13567 clear to taxi or was it 13576?
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 15:08
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May I as a passenger just ask something? Isn't it going to make it much more difficult for ATC if all aircraft look the same? Just imagine Heathrow with a row of aircraft all exactly the same*, the only distinguishing feature being the registration which may or may not be easily visible - how is the ATCO to tell if one happens to take a wrong turning, or instruct another to "Follow the XX" in poor visibility? Surely it would also predispose to accidents happening if the ATCOs are constantly having to check up on which callsign belongs to which aircraft each day? Surely a regular callsign is a safety factor rather than a risk? Can you imagine the situation where two aircraft manage to get themselves into a dangerous situation which needs immediate resolution and the controller has to try to remember the callsign of the day for both or worse, look them up?
I am aware that I know very little but these are just a few thoughts which occurred to me. Perhaps someone with much greater knowledge than myself would care to reassure me that this would be highly improbable :ok;
*I seem to remember hearing something about a problem with BA's tail artwork not being recognised by some other airlines and thereby causing confusion
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 15:10
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Two Viscounts downed by SAM 7s in Rhodesia as was.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 16:03
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and I suppose all the staff should wear identical uniforms and airports should be made to look like towns etc etc.........

There has to be a point at which the measures proposed to counter a threat are impractical and I think your suggestions have reached it. Yes it might happen but then so might a train be blown up as it leaves a crowded commuter station, or a ship be attacked as it left port etc etc. We are all hoping that the intelligence forces are now good enough to forestall any of these types of attack, but your suggestio doesn't actually prevent an incident it just makes it more haphazard.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 16:29
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I got a better security idea!

Let's remove the Packs and fly the planes depressurized. This way a would be hijacker is still tethered to his seat by his oxygen umbilical. Plus all the weight savings, performance increase and the weight of air. Perfect!

I'm glad to see a good rational cost/benefit debate defeat a basically emotional idea.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 17:28
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DX Wombat - the problem with identifying aircraft by reg is this links straight to the airline, there's a whole load of websites that can give this info.

The airlines often get reg's that are recognisable as theirs too, just look at some BA and Virgin ones.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 17:58
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Don't be discouraged One Off Contributor. It is the nature of pilots to rip apart any idea before really considering it's relative merits etc.
You have a sound suggestion. Take it a step further. Having implemented a random callsign/paint scheme, what other ways could a terrorist identify a target on his airband radio. Accent? Departure gate? Terminal?
There are always ways and means. Just watch Ocean's Twelve!
Keep the ideas coming though. That's what we need.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 18:09
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Cejkovice I wasn't suggesting that the registration should be used, rather that, as the lettering can be very small and difficult to see on some aircraft, this could also make things difficult for ATC when trying to identify the aircraft on the ground.
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Old 26th Jan 2005, 18:30
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<<this could also make things difficult for ATC when trying to identify the aircraft on the ground>>

Understand your concern, but how do you imagine ATC copes at night or in poor visibility? We have ways.....

Without wishing to discourage the originator of this thread, the only way to achieve absolute safety is to stop flying.
Old 26th Jan 2005, 20:01
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Over the years the military forces of various nations (including the USA) have been doing such a superb job of shooting down civilian airliners it's hardly necessary for terrorists to spend much effort doing so.
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