Israel to upgrade air defences
Israel announced yesterday that it would install a new system to protect its airspace from terror attack and upgrade existing civilian aircraft missile defences.
At a meeting devoted to aviation security, ministers in the security cabinet were briefed about a soon-to-be installed system that will recognise planes flying in Israeli airspace, the prime minister's office said.
The system would identify any plane "in a way that would significantly reduce the danger of unidentified or hijacked airplanes entering Israeli airspace in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks," it said.
Furthermore, the current anti-missile system on Israel's commercial airline fleet will be upgraded.
"At the start of 2008, development will commence on a new technological system to replace the system presently being installed," it said, adding that Israel was "the first nation in the world to reinforce its commercial airline fleet against missile attacks."
On November 28, 2002, a jetliner from Israeli charter company Arkia came under attack from two missiles that narrowly missed the plane as it took off from Mombasa, Kenya with 261 passengers on board.
In December 2005, the transport ministry confirmed that Israel had begun to equip its national carrier El Al with an anti-missile system.
The so-called Flight Guard system, which was developed by the Israeli arms firm ELTA, costs a million dollars to install on each aircraft.
The system is equipped with thermal sensors which can deflect missiles in a similar fashion to those already installed on combat aircraft.