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US Prepares For New Round Of Civil Aviation Missile Defense Tests

Fortunetly most of the stinger missiles the US gave to Afghan insurgents in the 1980s have either been "repurchased" or have expired and pose little risk other than to the user.

Washington, (UPI) July 26, 2005
The U.S. government will begin testing anti-missile laser defense equipment on three airliners next month as Washington beefs up aviation security, USA Today newspaper has reported.

Northrop Grumman Corp and BAE Systems will install laser defense equipment on out-of-service aircraft before a decision is made about putting it on passenger planes.

The laser systems are designed to confound heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles that have been used in the past by terrorists trying to down passenger planes.

The result of the trials, which will be conducted by the Department of Homeland Security's systems engineering and development office, will be forwarded to Congress next year for review.

Officials have said installing such systems on all 6,800 aircraft in the U.S. passenger airline fleet would cost at least $6 billion, which would be the most expensive security upgrade ever of U.S. aviation, USA Today said.

So far, no U.S. airliner has been shot down by a ground-launched missile fired by terrorists. Allegations have circulated that a Boeing 747, TWA flight 800, was downed by a Stinger missile over Long Island Sound on July 17, 1997. But U.S. authorities have always dismissed the allegations.

However, Homeland Security authorities take the possibility of such attempts being made in the future seriously.

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Surrounded By Hostile Missiles
Washington, (UPI) July 26, 2005
Arab countries surrounding Israel have some 1,000 missiles that can fire a total of some 500 tons of explosives at any spot in the country, the former head of the Israeli Defense Ministry department responsible for ballistic missile defense warned Tuesday.

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