One Congressman's Quest to Protect Jetliners from Missiles

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Some experts suggest that patrolling airport perimeters could help thwart potential attackers, who are most likely to target planes during takeoff and landing.

PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 airplane takes off from a runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 23, 2013.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 airplane takes off from a runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 23, 2013.

But that, too, can be expensive, as effective policing would require monitoring perimeters hundreds of miles deep. (The U.S. can’t regulate patrols at foreign airports.)

“You can’t necessarily fortify the airports, but you can fortify the plane,” Israel said, adding that learning to operate the defense systems is “not that difficult.”

“A very important defense against terrorists is deterrents... If [terrorists] knew that these planes had technologies to protect against a shoulder fired missile, they may be less likely to even try that,” the congressman said. “We should use all the tools in our toolbox – deterrents, actual protection, defense – in order to dissuade, deter, and stop them from engaging in this kind of an attack.”

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