Israeli planes with anti-missile systems banned from Swiss airports.

I’m not sure I understand what the hell the problem is in this news item about how the Swiss government has banned El Al passenger planes from landing at their airports because of an anti-missile shield installed on the planes:

The Swiss aviation authority has already barred El Al aircrafts equipped with the new system from landing in the country, and the German paper said more countries are expected to soon follow.

“If we catch Israeli planes fitted with this system in our airports, they will be grounded,” a spokesman for the Swiss aviation authority told Der Spiegel.

From what I can gather from the brief article there’s some concern that a misfire of the system could result in damages of some sort, though what kind of damage is expected isn’t spelled out. Considering the fact that these planes fly into Israel on a regular basis and could become the targets of shoulder launched missiles it seems a relatively intelligent thing to do so I’m curious as to why the Swiss—and possibly other EU countries—would have a problem with it. With the rise of international terrorism I’m actually surprised that these aren’t standard on all planes in every country as a just-in-case precaution.

Given the choice of flying in a plane with a missile defense system versus one without I’d prefer the one with the defense system installed. I don’t expect any flights I’m on to come under missile attack, but I’d be happier if we were prepared for it just in case.

36 thoughts on “Israeli planes with anti-missile systems banned from Swiss airports.

  1. Perhaps they are concerned with being able to shoot down a rogue plane. If it has the defense system, they may not be able to protect themselves against whatever the hijacker is planning on doing with it. They may just use the excuse of the malfunction as a nicer way to refuse the planes.

  2. The Flight Guard system protects against heat seeking shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles, such as the soviet designed SA-7 and perhaps our Stinger. A UK blogger, Spy Blog, has two concerns about the system. The major concern is the reliability of the decoy flare or flares that the system releases.

    Just because the flares allegedly only burn for a couple of seconds, does not mean that they will always ignite on time, in the same way that cluster bomb munitions do not always detonate on impact, but end up becoming anti-personnel land mines.

    Will the Home Secretary David Blunkett and Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling resign when the thermite flares are triggered accidentally and cause the risk of fire in the heavily built up urban area which surrounds Heathrow airport, or which cause acccidents on the M25, one of the busiest sections of motorway in the world, directly under the Heathrow flightpath ?

    The second concern is that the Israeli’s are putting the system into limited use in Europe when it hasn’t been through the Israeli test program.

    The article briefly mentions safety concerns over the next generation of protection systems, which would use a laser to blind the heat seeking system.

    I have no information on the reliability of the fuses in thermite flares, but I know I wouldn’t want an unexpended device like that landing on my roof.

  3. I have no information on the reliability of the fuses in thermite flares, but I know I wouldn’t want an unexpended device like that landing on my roof.

    Question: Does such a device substantially change the risk incurred by commercial and/or military air traffic over your roof?

  4. Question: Does such a device substantially change the risk incurred by commercial and/or military air traffic over your roof?

    Probably not.

    I had thought about including something in my post about a cost benefit analysis, but didn’t. It would have been something like—Does the likely-hood of saving an aircraft outweigh the risk of dropping potentially incendiary devices on or around an airport?

    Whatever the outcome of such an analysis might show, it wouldn’t change what I said.

  5. Wait – assuming the device is only triggered when a missile is approaching the plane, is a thermite flare landing on your roof worse than, say, an entire airliner?

  6. It’s worth a risk analysis, though. A downed airliner would result in, say, a few hundred casualties, bystanders on the ground included. Needless to say, if an airliner is shot down over a heavily populated area, like Zurich’s Kloten or London Heathrow airport, more than a few roofs are likely to be impacted. A flare going off at random wouldn’t likely do nearly as much damage.

    How likely is a missile attack on an airplane equipped with countermeasures, how likely are the countermeasures to deploy in error, how likely are any of these to happen in a densely populated area, and how do the probabilities actually play out?

    As far as I’m concerned, living right under a flight path is a bad risk, period. I wish I’d kept the link, but a few years ago a roof was damaged by a chunk of frozen shit dropping off a plane. I seem to recall it was in the NYC area, but I could well misremember.

    For that matter, all bets are off is there’s also military air traffic in the same area. They’re likely to drop worse than a flare. Where I grew up, a fighter plane quite literally lost a live bomb on a training flight; the pilot didn’t even notice until the ground crew counted the ammo after he landed.

  7. Wait – assuming the device is only triggered when a missile is approaching the plane, is a thermite flare landing on your roof worse than, say, an entire airliner?

    Of course not, but I still don’t want an un-ignited incendiary up there.

    How likely is a missile attack on an airplane equipped with countermeasures, how likely are the countermeasures to deploy in error, how likely are any of these to happen in a densely populated area, and how do the probabilities actually play out?

    Minor point, but I believe these systems deploy more than one flare.

    This discussion brought to mind the airliner that crashed in Rockaway Beach shortly after 9/11. All 255 people on the airliner died as well as 5 people on the ground. There were also some minor injuries.

  8. Rob, that BBC article on the Swiss is just… I don’t even know how to describe it.  Except that to say, uh…

    Wow.
    /offtopic

    Still, assuming a bad situation where their choice is between a falling flare and a falling airliner, they seem to prefer the airliner.  I think.  long face

  9. It’s not just about random flares falling onto people’s houses. You have to consider what happens if a flare ignites within the housing because of a malfunction too. So, say there’s some sort of electrical gremlin malfunction – the folks in Tel Aviv aren’t properly maintaining the planes or someone found the batch with the production errors and installed it on the plane – and the flares go off on the plane.

    If it’s just one flare then it’s probably no big deal unless the system is near some other critical system, it will burn a hole in the plane and cause some grief if that hole is enough to cause venting in the passenger compartments but we’re talking on approach so that shouldn’t be huge. If that one flare or malfunction sets off a bunch of them though, or just a few in close proximity to each other, then there’s a chance that you won’t just burn up the immediate region of the flare system but you could actually set the aluminum on fire, transfer heat to fuel with inflammatory results, burn through critical control systems, etc.

    Furthermore, the Swiss have a point about the risk assessment of “terrorists launching an attack from inside Switzerland”. Who’s gonna do that? Your average Middle Eastern terrorist sticks out like a sore thumb in Switzerland, it doesn’t have Basque or Irish minorities, it doesn’t even have significant repressed African minorities to act as catalysts for an act of terrorism. The single minority I could find that might have a gripe was the Serbo-croatian ethic minorities, who I have a hard time thinking of as particularly interested in shooting down Israeli airliners. One of the other posters pointed out the Swiss maintain a reputation for being anal-retentive risk-adverse sorts, so it follows that it’s a good idea to approach it from the viewpoint of the Swiss.

    There’s very little chance of real terrorism being engaged in on the Swiss side, no matter what the Israeli flight approaches are like. The Swiss aren’t under any obligation to make life safer and anally-retentive risk-adverse for anyone but the Swiss, and it’s conceivable that some comedy of errors could mean that Israeli planes fall out fo the sky thanks to their new system. Why add to your hassle? Everyone else flies under the same risk assessment as any other plane, but the Israelis want to be different? If one is going to be anal-retentive and risk-adverse, this means that you’d have to specifically check out each and every Israeli plane for maintenance issues that don’t exist for other planes allowed to land in Switzerland.

    I’m not saying the Israelis aren’t justified in their missile defense measures, but I can see the concept of maybe wanting to see a few thousand hours of those things flying around to see what the problems were and if they ever light up the planes like a candle in wet weather before I’d like them running around my stratosphere willy-nilly too.

  10. We have moved in Switzerland. I don’t recall a hygiene inspector being in evidence, but we were contractually required to hire a professional outfit that did a cleaning job that I haven’t seen before or since.

    They started by filling the bathtub with some industrial stuff that probably would have taken care of any skeletons found in a closet. They disassembled everything in sight down to spare parts and submersed it in that vile stuff in the tub.

    It took a crew more than ten people about six hours to get done. After that, eating soup out of the toilet bowl would have been okay.

  11. MisterMook, I’m not taking sides on this, but the complaint is; ‘the plane has a system on it that might fail and cause a crash?’

    Hard to imagine an ElAl plane being poorly maintained.  Maybe their real worry is that other airlines will follow suit and they’ll have American planes with those things on them!

  12. There’s very little chance of real terrorism being engaged in on the Swiss side, no matter what the Israeli flight approaches are like.

    Bull. Near the end of our stay in Switzerland, rival drug dealers of indeterminate nationality had firefights in a residential area right next to Zurich’s main railway station. The Swiss arrested them left and right, but ultimately had to send them back on the street, because they couldn’t figure out which country to deport them to.

    The only reason that makes it unlikely that a terror attack would be staged from or within Switzerland is that you don’t piss off the people that might shelter your assets.

  13. Drug dealers have different targets for criminal activites and goals in their level of violence that they’ll pursue than terrorists most of the time. You occasionally get drug dealers setting off bombs and holding hostages, but what drug dealer is going to stage an international incident by shooting down a plane? You don’t just pick up the garden-variety police shootouts that way, you start worrying about special forces anti-terrorism units too. And, unlike terror cells that can and do “go underground”, drug dealers and most other financially motivated criminals have to interact with customers. Equating drug dealers with terrorists is just ignorant. They have different motivations, means, and methods. The only real reason to shoot down a plane as a drug dealer is if the police are coming after you in it (in which case you’ve likely watched too many Hollywood movies), or you’ve been taking your own product enough AND gotten a hold of a shoulder-fired heat-seeking missile for some asinine reason.

    I stand by my assertion that Switzerland isn’t a key risk country for acts of terrorism. It doesn’t have the indicators or lack of control that might presume as such. I imagine that if I were engaged in terrorism that Switzerland might be a fine country for sitting in a dark room for a few months, but for actual activities you’d want to go someplace more sympathetic and/or visible/politically active.

    The Swiss arrested them left and right, but ultimately had to send them back on the street, because they couldn’t figure out which country to deport them to.

    That’s interesting, but it still means very little in terms of absolute numbers of sympathetic minority/opposition populations. It’s more interesting that they didn’t keep them arrested until they DID find out where they belonged (which, I believe, is how we do it in the US in most cases), or simply say “screw it” and arrest them for firefights and imprison them. It’s so screwy, in fact, that I have serious doubts as to your version of the facts.

  14. Everyone else flies under the same risk assessment as any other plane, but the Israelis want to be different?

    Huh ?
    Israeli airliners, most definitely, do fly under a much, much greater threat than probably any other state.

    EG: Kenya 2002
    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/12/03/missile.defense/

    BTW, it’s also important to remember the animosity of the Swiss govt towards Israel, albeit underlying for most part:
    http://www-tech.mit.edu/V118/N8/aspy.8w.html

    rob@egoz.org

  15. MisterMook,

    Equating drug dealers with terrorists is just ignorant.

    Right back at you. My point wasn’t to equate the two, but to point out that foreign nationals were able to overtly commit criminal acts. This is a lack of control that doesn’t counterindicate more European-looking foreigners pulling off an attack using a highly mobile weapon like a shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile. It may or may not be harder to launch a major terrorist attack inside of Switzerland compared to other nations, but I doubt that it couldn’t be done.

    I stand by my assertion that Switzerland isn’t a key risk country for acts of terrorism.

    That much we agree on, although for different reasons.

    I imagine that if I were engaged in terrorism that Switzerland might be a fine country for sitting in a dark room for a few months, but for actual activities you’d want to go someplace more sympathetic and/or visible/politically active.

    I would guess that shooting down an El Al plane anywhere in the world would be counted as a success for whatever terrorist succeeds in such an endeavor. Having the aircraft drop onto New York, D.C., or London would be simply a bonus.

    It’s so screwy, in fact, that I have serious doubts as to your version of the facts.

    Suit yourself. I was there and read the newspapers. If you can read German and can find the archives of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung or the Tagesanzeiger for 1994 or 1995, you should be able to find the relevant articles yourself.

    At the time, Zurich had long had a major drug problem, resulting in the most depressing open drug scene I’ve ever had the displeasure to observe. Many, if not all of the dealers were foreigners without proper residence permits, much less work permits. They were picked up in droves and the Swiss wanted to deport them first and foremost. They were frustrated in that desire by the simple expedient of the dealers refusing to disclose their nationality, if any. You can’t very well deport somebody unless you find a country willing or obliged to receive the deportee, can you? My recollection is that since prison space was in short supply, the dealers couldn’t be properly incarcerated – assuming they could have been successfully prosecuted in the first place – and they couldn’t be held indefinitely by the immigration authorities. The end result was that the dealers were held for as long as immigration could, then cut loose again inside of the country. The papers were full of moaning and gnashing of teeth…

    After rereading my original statement, there is one bit of ambiguity to resolve. I don’t recall if the articles mentioned that any dealers known to be involved in the firefights were picked up and if so, what happened to them. There was a limited number of these firefights, too, because they were the final straw that prompted authorities to forcibly close the open drug scene right behind Zurich’s railway station and to drive dealers and addicted both deeper underground.

  16. My recollection is that since prison space was in short supply, the dealers couldn’t be properly incarcerated – assuming they could have been successfully prosecuted in the first place – and they couldn’t be held indefinitely by the immigration authorities. The end result was that the dealers were held for as long as immigration could, then cut loose again inside of the country. The papers were full of moaning and gnashing of teeth…

    Wow… I never realized Switzerland and the US were so much alike.

  17. The FCC frowns on everything from cellular jammers to
    “passive” radar gun jammers which are outlawed in the us.
    cellphone:
    http://www.newhousenews.com/archive/story1a092200.html
    radar:
    http://www.mit.edu/~jfc/laws.html

    Jamming is concidered an act of war in many countries.
    As luck would have it, they reserve the right to listen in
    on what you have to say most of the time.
    They also reserve the right to use recording equipment
    in almost every venue. As long as they see fit.

    So it stands to reason that they would get upset if a given country’s
    ability to shoot down aircraft it deemed to be ‘rogue’ was
    impeeded in some way. Ya know, in the name of keeping everyone safe.

    Piss on ‘passenger safety’ thats just an excuse and isnt at all important.
    At a minimum Israel bound airlines would like to stay in buisness.
    Planes arent cheap and bad publicity is costly.
    The illusion of safety is a marketing gimmick at best.

  18. Was it sold to the Swiss air force, too?

    Hmm, good question, but I couldn’t say. I tried a search on Flight Guard foreign military sales, but didn’t find anything about sales to any one else’s military.

    Another bit of trivia about this system. The flares were redesigned to be larger than the military version and to be invisible. That last feature was added so that the passenger wouldn’t be upset if the system were to deploy flares.

  19. Piss on ‘passenger safety’ thats just an excuse and isnt at all important.

    I haven’t closely followed that story, but in the wake of 9/11, the German government enacted a policy that an airplane under the control of a terrorist could be shot down in case it’s headed somewhere terribly unsafe, like a highrise or a nuclear reactor. Unless I have my cases mixed up, very recently the German Surpreme Court smacked down that policy, to which the Defense Minister replied that if such a scenario would come to pass, he’d have such a plane shot down whether the court agrees with him or not.

    I haven’t had the time to dig up and digest the actual ruling, but it sounds like that court is very much concerned with passenger safety, until such time as an airplane ceases to be airborne.

  20. I haven’t closely followed that story, but in the wake of 9/11, the German government enacted a policy that an airplane under the control of a terrorist could be shot down in case it’s headed somewhere terribly unsafe, like a highrise or a nuclear reactor. Unless I have my cases mixed up, very recently the German Surpreme Court smacked down that policy, to which the Defense Minister replied that if such a scenario would come to pass, he’d have such a plane shot down whether the court agrees with him or not.

    I haven’t had the time to dig up and digest the actual ruling, but it sounds like that court is very much concerned with passenger safety, until such time as an airplane ceases to be airborne.

    Yes, the law was struck down as unconstitutional. Nothing to do with being in the air or not, as far as I know – they simly said that the Grundgesetz forbids weighing one set of lives (the passengers) against another (the possible ground targets). Rubbish in its logical conclusion, as every normal risk assessment (for example in my business, roading design) includes weighing the worth and cost of life (i.e. do I improve the design where it is less likely to cost a life out of a million users, but the safety feature costs a hundred thousand dollars more and may never come into play?).

    Nevertheless, it makes no nevermind. I’d like to see the defense minister* who would order such a shooting-down. He’d have to be as brave as crazy, for, after all, the kidnappers might not intend to ram the plane into anything at all (have there been any airplane hijackings since 9/11 at all, I don’t know?).

    *Sheesh, who IS our defense minister right now? Since going to New Zealand right around the time the new government came into office, I am somewhat out of the loop.

    Franz Josef Jung. Well, don’t know about him.

    Anyway, how would he know its heading in any ‘dangerous direction’? Downtown Frankfurt is less than a minute’s flight away from Frankfurt airport, the nuclear plants of Hanau and Biblis with their distinctive skylines are less than 5-10 mintes away. Like at 9/11, interceptors would be way too late unless the hijackers tried to negotiate first.

    There’s very little chance of real terrorism being engaged in on the Swiss side, no matter what the Israeli flight approaches are like.

    If the Israelis have to get selective about where they can use the defense system, the terrorists can be too. Switzerland is not safer (not by orders of magnitude anyway) than the US or Britain. So I’m for letting them have it, and eventually install it into all planes. Its cheap compare to the possible benefit. Easy risk analysis here. I simply do not consider the flare risk as all that great.

    As far as I’m concerned, living right under a flight path is a bad risk, period.

    Uh, okay, Elwedd. Lets move, uh, I don’t know exact figures, maybe 20%-30% of the population of all developed states? Airports are close to population centers for a reason, and with wind direction having the effect that it has for flight, we will always have to have multiple approach corridors for any airport.

    All said here in this thread, I am very surprised that more SAM attacks on airliners have not happened already. We always read how easy it is to get heat-seeking missiles on the black market, and how porous our borders are. There are no serious fenced-off zones around airports – you could simply use some old truck and shoot down a plane from its back while parking under the approach path. Could even check the tail fin first, to see if its the imperial infidels correct airline. Hey, I know some nice backroads in the Frankfurt area forest. You wouldn’t even have to become a martyr, if you didn’t want to.

    Apparently, then, arms control IS working better than we thought.

  21. Jamming is concidered an act of war in many countries.

    This is a common mis-understanding.

    There are two types of anti-aircraft missiles…  Heat-seaking and radar-based.

    *One* of the systems deployed in ElAl aircraft defends againt heat-seaking, shoulder-fired missiles.  It does this by releasing -flares- and, for good measure, metalic strips called -chaff-.

    A more robust anti-aircraft missile depends upon a landbased radar installation that tracks the target (e.g, aircraft) and transmits the targets locations via telemetry to the missile.  This particular system discussed does not defend againt missiles directed from radar.

    So, in the traditional sense, it’s not “jamming” anything.  Decoys do not jam.

    rob@egoz.org

  22. I’d like to see the defense minister* who would order such a shooting-down.

    Just picking one of the first Google hits, what Jung appears to have said is that pending a new legal basis, if he necessary he intends to secure the air space by asserting a right to self-defense. He is quoted to say that he can and would act in an emergency situation.

    Sure seems like fighting words to me.

    Uh, okay, Elwedd. Lets move, uh, I don’t know exact figures, maybe 20%-30% of the population of all developed states?

    Fine, if you want to be that way.

    The risk of an aircraft or something ejected from it dropping onto you rise sharply with the proximity to an airport. Living right under the flight path on approach to or departure from a runway isn’t much different from living in an earth-quake zone. Statistically, it’s not a question of if, but when bad things will happen. Having said that, a lot of people will get lucky anyway because jet fuel will run out before the odds catch up with them.

    If you live under the flight corridors criss-crossing nations where aircraft travels at cruising altitude, the residual risk is negligible, even if planes do lose bits and pieces once in a while.

    Happier now?

    Apparently, then, arms control IS working better than we thought.

    I wonder about the same thing, although I recall a time when the IRA had their asshats fire mortars at Heathrow’s runways.

  23. *One* of the systems deployed in ElAl aircraft defends againt heat-seaking, shoulder-fired missiles.  It does this by releasing -flares- and, for good measure, metalic strips called -chaff-.

    Littering. There you have it.

  24. After more research…The Israeli system is indeed the one that the Israelis mount upon at least some of their military aircraft. This means that it very very good, on par with or better than US systems of a similar nature. There is some implication that perhaps the Israelis are playing white mice for the idea of loading US systems on US commercial planes, with the bones of contention being the price (of course), actual ability to protect a plane at an altitude of less than a 1000 feet or so without burning up large swaths of land (20 or so flares that are supposed to burn out before they hit the ground hot enough to set aluminum on fire), maintenance concerns (commercial planes don’t have the same sorts of maintenance schedules as military aircraft), explosives concerns (you’ve basically got several hundred pounds of explosives attached to your fuselage somewhere, and the airframe wasn’t designed with the idea of launching flares from the frame like most military aircraft were), and power concerns (which is related to the actual ability thing, but it’s worth noting that military aircraft have LOTS of extra power to propel a plane safely out of the seeking range of a missile compared to any commercial plane so they could theoretically do everything right and still get peppered by an explosion that they couldn’t get away from). There does not seem to be any significant concern about flare malfunction on the plane except in the notion that if any given airline handles flares the way it handles luggage then anything is possible, and commercial airlines fly lots and lots more hours in the air than military aircraft.

    The last and most significant sounding concern was that there are flase positives that can release the devices, and that means that after some certain percentage of hundreds or thousands of hours you near a statistical certainty that the devices will at some time launch off for no good reason to no one’s clear notion of what will happen.

    Now I don’t feel much safer about the idea of Israeli airplanes coming into JFK now either, on the fear that some wise guy with a little knowledge and some homebuilt rockets might see if he can’t hotwire the pretty lights on landing approach to come out to impress his girlfriend.

  25. Remember, the Swiss culture has deeply ingrained anti-Semitic ideals and a large percentage of its citizens are openly dislike Jews, especially Israelis:

    Xenophobic and racist opinions are often expressed within institutional parties. Kark Kissling, a Christian Democrat from Solothurn, was expelled from the party after he publicly held Jews responsible for the September 11 attacks in the US. Geneva Mayor Manuel Tornare … claimed the attacks were a direct consequence of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

    http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw2001-2/switzerland.htm

    “A survey in Switzerland suggests that anti-semitism remains deeply rooted in the country.

    It indicates that 16% of Swiss people are fundamentally anti-semitic, while 60% have anti-semitic sympathies.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/678669.stm

    —-

    ElAl is historically justified in deploying this tried and tested anti-missile system (Kenya 2002).  The concerns of the Swiss government are, i believe, politically motivated.  And, worse, probably a result of their medieval-like anti-semitic culture.

    Do not look for reason when there is only rabid fear.

    Remember, Europeans prefer to argue between the lines of a conversation, and rarely openly and forthrightly, especially with Jews.

    rob@egoz.org

  26. Yeah, US is best country for critisizing others when it itself doesn’t care about international treaties, not mentioning scientific facts…

    This is very propably how it would be made in case of big, slow, clumsy, passenger plane because anything less wouldn’t be so effective.
    http://www.strategypage.com/gallery/images/decoy.mpe
    How much do you think there isn’t burning in ground if that’s made in low altitude?
    Potential to damage is magnitudes bigger than in case of ice blocks falling from plane.

    And system would have to be automatic because from passenger plane visibility would be lousy… in military planes these are manually activated systems.
    Then shoulder launched missiles can’t cause big lauch signature… after all those are shoulder launched and shooter isn’t supposed to wear fire proof protective gear. Also IR missiles are passive homing so they don’t emit exposing radiation. So how sensitive system is and can it discard for example sun reflecting from water surface or window?

  27. Emotion-Based Non Sequitor Identified:

    Yeah, US is best country for critisizing others when it itself doesn’t care about international treaties, not mentioning scientific facts…

    Who is discussing the US honoring international treaties?  This issue has *nothing* to do with the Swiss treatement of Jews and Israeli interests.

    Regarding flares…
    Anyone who has worked with the military and flares know they can cause fires, usually -small- fires that people on the ground put out with a bucket of water (as i have done).  But, this is usually the case only when flares are launched from the ground into the air.

    The Swiss Model: (White-Euro)Life vs Property
    A few small fires, albeit fairly improbable, on the ground is a minor annoyance compared to the loss of sine 100-300 individual humans (albeit Jews, i admit) plunging to their death.

    Let’s face it, the Swiss don’t really like Jews; Their history, both recent and distant, and policies like this merely re-enforce this idea.

    rob@egoz.org

  28. Then shoulder launched missiles can’t cause big lauch signature… after all those are shoulder launched and shooter isn’t supposed to wear fire proof protective gear. Also IR missiles are passive homing so they don’t emit exposing radiation. So how sensitive system is and can it discard for example sun reflecting from water surface or window?

    Flight Guard’s uses a pulsed Doppler radar to detect incoming threats. The question is what is the radar cross section section of, say, an SA-7.

    The link in my 2/27/06 07:35 PM post points to a description of the system.

  29. Let’s face it, the Swiss don’t really like Jews;

    In my experience, the Swiss are xenophobic on general principle. The only thing they appear to dislike more than the folks from the next valley over are foreigners. I wouldn’t contest that their bias against Germans and Jews is above their own average.

    It’s hard to see their decision as anything but a political message using safety concerns as a transparent cover and the same goes for the other European countries that consider following suit.

    Just curious – if the Swiss force Israelis (they’re not all Jews, by the way) to fly on an airliner that does get shot down owing to a lack of defenses or hijacked due to sub-El Al-standard security, will they be held accoutable?

  30. Just curious – if the Swiss force Israelis (they’re not all Jews, by the way) to fly on an airliner that does get shot down owing to a lack of defenses or hijacked due to sub-El Al-standard security, will they be held accoutable?

    We can only hope. I know I would be pretty pissed if I lost anything on one of those flights. Of course, both the likelihood of a misfire and the likelihood of a rocket launch are slim, and you can guess which one is probably more destructive. *shakes his fist at the Swiss*

  31. I have to admit that when I first posted this entry it didn’t occur to me that a misfired flare could potentially set someone’s house on fire and I felt pretty stupid the moment someone pointed out what should be an obvious potential problem.

    The initial few posts seemed to be pointing out what an idiot I was for thinking that deploying the system was a good idea, but then the tide seemed to change as folks started debating the risk/benefit aspect of using the system and I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. So, I feel at least a little vindicated for putting this entry up.

  32. Les, the obvious problem is people (and I use the term undeservedly generously) that might conceivably fire a missile at an airliner and make it crash in a densely populated area.

    The two questions surrounding the article are straightforward to state: Have the Swiss published their risk analysis and what is the actual motivation behind their decision. What’s the Ursache and what’s the Anlass

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