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    Default FedEx MD-10 Takes Off

    FedEx MD-10 Takes Off With Anti-Missile System

    POSTED: 4:25 pm EST January 16, 2007

    LOS ANGELES -- An MD-10 cargo jet equipped with an anti-missile system designed to eventually protect passenger aircraft from a terrorist attack took off from Los Angeles International Airport on a commercial flight Tuesday.

    The system's designer, Northrop Grumman Corp., said the FedEx flight marked the start of operational testing and evaluation of the laser system designed to defend against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles during takeoffs and landings.

    Adapted from military technology, Guardian is designed to detect a missile launch and then direct a laser to the seeker system on the head of the missile and disrupt its guidance signals. The laser is not visible and is eye-safe, the company said.

    "For the first time, we will be able to collect valuable logistics data while operating Guardian on aircraft in routine commercial service," said Robert L. DelBoca, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division.

    During the current test phase, which concludes in March 2008, nine MD-10s equipped with the Guardian system will be in commercial service. Katie Lamb-Heinz of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems said all those aircraft will be freighters. The ultimate goal is to defend passenger airliners.

    The testing is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Counter-Man Portable Air Defense Systems program. BAE Systems has also been working for the government on an airliner defense system.

    No passenger plane has ever been downed by a shoulder-fired missile outside of a combat zone. But terrorists linked with al-Qaida are believed to have fired two SA-7 missiles that narrowly missed an Israeli passenger jet after it took off from Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2002.

    The first commercial flight with the Guardian system followed 16 months of tests on an MD-11, an MD-10 and a Boeing 747 using simulated launches of shoulder-fired missiles.

    Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.
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    The first words will be,"crap, we missed " or " Darn we shot down the wrong aircraft".

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    Talking Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...............

    Well, Let's see........ If FED-Ex has these missles, I guess I won't be shipping by UPS........
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    I think the time, effort, and money are being mismanaged. They should be concentrating on better airport and seaport security, border security, equipment and training for first responders, better WMD detection and handling development, more money for grants for first responders, better identification procedures and start cutting the red tape between government agencies.

    Yes, this is cool to have and gives people piece of mind if it works..... but I guess it just isn't on the top of MY priority list.

    Then again, who the hell am I?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I think the time, effort, and money are being mismanaged. They should be concentrating on better airport and seaport security, border security, equipment and training for first responders, better WMD detection and handling development, more money for grants for first responders, better identification procedures and start cutting the red tape between government agencies.

    Yes, this is cool to have and gives people piece of mind if it works..... but I guess it just isn't on the top of MY priority list.

    Then again, who the hell am I?
    Nonsense! How do you secure the extended perimeter of an international airport? You would need military assets-and alot of them at that. Not one of the things you mention would stop a terrorist from firing a missile from an off-airport location-especially first responder training.

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    Apart from firing a missile AFTER a missle is kind of self defeating, there are certain laws of physics that reduce your probability of hit to a point of diminishing returns.

    10 million dollars or whatever on a system designed to confuse the seaker head into seiing no target makes sense in a big fashion, where the aircraft can manouver away while the head is seeker head is lost.

    Most if not all missiles have a defined profile where after x movement or time they just go bang.

    If you are a mile away in a different hunk of sky from the bang, you can wave at the puff of smoke.

    It may not be on your priority list, but your can bet your pension there are a lot of Pilots betting thiers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Nonsense! How do you secure the extended perimeter of an international airport? You would need military assets-and alot of them at that. Not one of the things you mention would stop a terrorist from firing a missile from an off-airport location-especially first responder training.

    Honestly, George!!! I'm Appalled!...... EVERYONE knows that all of society's ills can be cured, if only we throw enough Federal Money at First Responders.......



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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    I think the time, effort, and money are being mismanaged. They should be concentrating on better airport and seaport security, border security, equipment and training for first responders, better WMD detection and handling development, more money for grants for first responders, better identification procedures and start cutting the red tape between government agencies.
    Think about the range of most of these shoulder-fired weapons and how low most aircraft are during takeoff and approach and you'll realize there is a huge area outside off of airport ground where such an attack could come from. There would have to be a 20+ mile buffer at both ends of the runway that would have to be protected.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    Think about the range of most of these shoulder-fired weapons and how low most aircraft are during takeoff and approach and you'll realize there is a huge area outside off of airport ground where such an attack could come from. There would have to be a 20+ mile buffer at both ends of the runway that would have to be protected.
    And to create that buffer zone would essentially require that ALL commercial and non-commercial properties within that 20 mile area be COMPLETELY cleared of all ground cover, including any and all structures. Since we all know that this is pretty much geo-politically and economically IMPOSSIBLE... and the manpower required to police it would be beyond astronomical. Especially considering how many national and international airports there are around just this country alone. I know for me personally I would not want to be the one to tell the folks of Manhatten that they all have to pack up and leave because they are on the flight approach path to JFK and LaGuardia (sorry for spelling - if its wrong) airports.

    Just to through a bit of a "real world" outlook on this scenario, take a look at what happened to the US Embassy in Athens. A shoulder launched rocket was fired from a construction site across the road.... thats how easy it is.
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    The other thing I was wondering is what is the range of this system? The system only "blinds" the incoming missile, it is still moving toward the aircraft and if it destroys itself close enough the end result is the same. This system was designed to blind the missile while the aircraft maneuvered out of the way.. not something commercial aircraft are prone, or capable of doing.

    Also, I'm going to assume that since this is now commercially available, the Military has deemed that it is no longer that sensitive... read: outdated. I'm sure there are already shoulder launched systems which are not susceptible to this kind of defense. If not, I'm sure there soon will be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    The other thing I was wondering is what is the range of this system? The system only "blinds" the incoming missile, it is still moving toward the aircraft and if it destroys itself close enough the end result is the same. This system was designed to blind the missile while the aircraft maneuvered out of the way.. not something commercial aircraft are prone, or capable of doing.

    Also, I'm going to assume that since this is now commercially available, the Military has deemed that it is no longer that sensitive... read: outdated. I'm sure there are already shoulder launched systems which are not susceptible to this kind of defense. If not, I'm sure there soon will be.

    Not going to speak from experience, but from those who have (I had friends growing up who flew them) 747's in particular (as with most Boeing a/c) are actually quite maneuverable - 747s apparently are quite capable - barrel rolls and loops are managable for them - apparently. Not really sure I'd like to be a passenger when thats happening - might be fun - maybe LOL But .... ????

    Another consideration is: when in time of need, almost any a/c is capable of the most fantastic, depending on the imagination and personal skill of the a/c commander.
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    But are they that maneuverable just after take-off and/or just before landing? Your not talking a fighter jet nor a little Cessna. I believe the movability of these big passenger jets, at the time this would be effective, is really very little.

    Anyone also wonder, if they manage to escape the missile.....where does said missed missile then go? Back to the ground where it would stand a good chance of causing a great amount of damage.

    It's an interesting idea, but it seems like it's only solving a very small part of the bigger problem.
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    Bones. You are in fact, quite correct about maneuvering or lack of it at low speeds.

    As for your other question, I think, depending on the type of missile, most have either contact or close proximity fuses. The contact ones (again I think) are usually heat seekers, so they look for the "hot spots" and then make contact - go boom. I am not sure if they have what amounts to a self-destruct/run out of fuel go boom - feature in them or not.

    The others are like AA guns. The missile, like the gun round can sometimes be set for a specific altitude and then blow themselves up, creating a shrapnel umbrella in the a/c flight path or at least close enough to it to cause damage, thereby destroying itself before ground contact.

    Unfortunately for either scenario, there is still a lot of debris falling to the ground.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Not going to speak from experience, but from those who have (I had friends growing up who flew them) 747's in particular (as with most Boeing a/c) are actually quite maneuverable - 747s apparently are quite capable - barrel rolls and loops are managable for them - apparently.
    Check out Racing 747's. It's not real, but pretty funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Not really sure I'd like to be a passenger when thats happening - might be fun - maybe LOL But ....
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    It's a slow day at work...
    Here's some stuff on 747's doing barrel rolls.StraightDope
    AviationExplorer

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    Check out Racing 747's. It's not real, but pretty funny.



    It's all fun and games until you get hit in the back of the head with a can of coke and bag of peanuts.
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    MalahatTwo7, a heat seeker? So then this laser beam thing would not be able to confuse a sensor to stop that missle anyway?

    And the proximity one doesn't sound like it uses any kind of sensor to find it's target either, just point in the right direction and it goes boom at x thousand feet.


    Ok, I'm no weapons expert and didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but are there any actual possible uses for this? Sounds, based on what you posted above, the 2 most common types of missiles being used would not be affected by this deterrent anyway.

    Guess I'll just keep trying to read more about these things cuz this ain't adding up in my mind.
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    I've often found it sarcastically funny the hypocritical approach to our (United States) defense against terrorism, in any AO. The general population and the government want the military to do all that is effectively possible to gain intelligence and place the threat out of service, yet in the same breath they want us to be considerate of the humanitarian rights of those who blatantly and openly take action against us. I believe human rights and life are to be valued, but I also believe there are times and places when those rights are null and void. The general public does not need to know everything that happens in a theater of war that is involving counterinsurgency, journalists do not always need to be imbedded within our military and our military leaders should be given the authority to conduct the best tactical operations deemed fit without being brought before the House and Senate so operations can dictated by armchair quarterbacks.

    While this missile defense system is interesting, as one person posted how does it measure up against the SAM fired by the enemy concealed at the end of the runway? For example, Somalis fighting the U.S. were taught how to bring down helicopters with RPGs, so the possiblity is valid. For all of the probable uses of this system, I'm certain it would be easier and cheaper to equip commercial planes with chaffe and still have the placebo effect that this missile defense has.

    Our politicians should encourage our military to operate clandestinely, our military leaders should get over the conventional vs. SOF debates, and the citizenry should take comfort in the fact that at certain times, threats can only be dealt with by physical elimination, similar to a surgeon removing a cancer. As Orwell is quoted, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." Once that is embraced, we can get back to not having to have our feet inspected before boarding a plane.
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    Bones, like you I am no expert and I think your questions have great validity. Also I am not 100% "UP" on the anti-missile systems that the original story talks about - other than what it purports to provide.

    The same goes for the actual missile detection equipment - that is in the realm of the EW Folks. However if the little bits that I do know are correct, (again coming from folks who fly Hercules a/c into Bosnia and other warm places like that) there is an ability to detect the actual launch of a missile - now whether they were talking about SAMs that are radar controlled only - I dont know. Just listening to some of the stories was enough, without the tech details.

    The comment about use of RPGs is a nasty but very true statement, and at low altitude those would not be detectable at all. Basically, for those who never thought about it, RPG stands for Rocket Propelled Grenade. So essentially a very large shotgun shell throws a rather large hand grenade at its intended (or not) target. These weapons work very well against ground troops and soft targets like cars and other unarmoured objects.
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    For radar-guided SAM's there is equipment that can detect the launch usually by the type of radar used to guide those missiles (X-band, I think). Usually the type of radar for search & track is different then the type used for fire control. Those are for the bigger SAM systems, not the shoulder-launched types.

    As for this system, there's a good article on Aviation Now.
    Northrop Grumman's Guardian system features a 7.75-ft.-long pod, shaped like an upside down canoe, fitted to the belly of the MD-10. It contains a multi-band laser pointer/tracker and an ultraviolet missile warning sensor. They operate independently of the pilot in identifying a missile threat and then firing a burst from a laser that forces the attacking missile to "make a violent turn" away from the aircraft, says Jack Pledger, Northrop Grumman's business development director for IR countermeasures.
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    Default Hhmmm

    Chinese satellite strike condemned by U.S.

    Randy Boswell, CanWest News Service Published: Friday, January 19, 2007

    The White House says Canada has joined the U.S. and Australia in condemning China for shooting down one of its own satellites with a ground-based missile, a test that is raising fears of a new arms race in space.

    ''The United States believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of co-operation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area,'' U.S. national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters in Washington on Thursday. ''We and other countries have expressed our concern to the Chinese.''

    He named Canada and Australia as backing U.S. objections to the Chinese satellite blast, which obliterated an obsolete, 1.3-metre-wide weather beacon orbiting 800 kilometres above Earth.

    Britain, Japan and South Korea are also expected to join today in an international chorus of criticism over China's test of its so-called ''satellite-killer'' technology, the Washington Post is reporting.

    But a Foreign Affairs spokesman in Ottawa said Thursday he would not confirm the nature of Canada's reaction to the Chinese test, adding an official response would be announced today. Spokesman Bernard Nguyen said officials needed time to gather ''appropriate information'' before issuing a formal statement.

    The controversy arises in the midst of a high-level Canadian trade mission to China, where federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Trade Minister David Emerson are meeting with top Chinese officials to build business ties with the Asian economic superpower.

    But the missile strike in space has spotlighted China's growing role as a military superpower - and the challenge the country poses to the United States as the preeminent force in global affairs.

    ''China is not going to settle for an inferior position,'' Wenran Jiang, director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, told CanWest News Service on Thursday.

    While describing China's space shot as a ''worrisome development,'' Jiang cautioned the Canadian government not to ''bluntly blame the Chinese'' at a time when the U.S. and Japan - China's key Asian rival - are closely collaborating on missile technology that is promoting the ''weaponization of outer space'' and provoking Beijing.

    ''China will not back down,'' Jiang warned. ''Canada should pursue policies that stabilize the region.... We would like to see no escalation.''

    The destruction of the satellite was first reported on Wednesday by Aviation Week & Space Technology, an online publication that revealed concern among U.S. intelligence officials over China's use on Jan. 11 of a ''kinetic kill vehicle launched on board a ballistic missile'' to blow up the eight-year-old beacon.

    The White House confirmed on Thursday the Chinese satellite was shot down last week.

    Jiang said the incident heralds the emergence of a ''security dilemma situation'' in Asia that will see the U.S. interpreting each Chinese advance in military capability as an ''offensive'' action and Beijing countering ''this is simply a routine development'' in a missile-defence race driven by the U.S. pursuit of ''Star Wars'' technology.

    He added Canada, as a NATO member and close U.S. ally, is in a delicate position but should be pursuing a strategy ''to make sure we don't have an arms race'' with China.

    U.S. analysts were echoing such concerns as news of the Chinese satellite strike spread on Thursday.

    Some observers also noted the satellite's destruction will have sent thousands of pieces of debris into orbit, possibly disrupting other communication satellites.

    ''Obviously we have a lot to lose and really nothing to gain from allowing space to become weaponized,'' Leonor Tomero, a policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, D.C., told Discovery News. ''If China testing an ASAT (anti-satellite) weapon is confirmed, then there will be an arms race in space if we allow this to happen. It's hard to tell if China is doing this as a result of U.S. policy, but we do know the current administration's position in space will do nothing to help prevent the militarization of space.''

    But in December, the U.S. undersecretary for arms control and international security, Robert Joseph, warned in a Washington speech about the Bush administration's new National Space Policy that U.S. satellites and other ''space assets'' are ''vulnerable to a range of threats'' - including, he noted, ''anti-satellite weapons'' that could ''permanently and irreversibly destroy satellites.

    ''Our space infrastructure could be seen as a highly lucrative target and today more actors have greater access to increasingly sophisticated technologies and capabilities that will improve their ability to interfere with U.S. space systems, services, and capabilities,'' Joseph warned at the time. ''For our part, we must take all of these threats seriously because space capabilities are essential or vital to the operation of our telecommunications, transportation, electrical power, water supply, gas and oil storage and transportation systems, emergency services, banking and finance, and continuity of government services.

    ''And, just as the U.S. government reserves the right to protect these infrastructures and resources on land, so too do we reserve the right to protect our space assets.''

    © CanWest News Service 2007
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    Default Warning - geek tech stuff to follow...

    First, a shameless shout-out:

    HEY GEORGE!

    Just in case anybody cares, here's some info on surface to air missles. Their guidance systems can be generally dropped into one of three categories.

    Radar guidance: As the name implies, these are guided by a radar unit. Some employ semi-active radar homing, where the radar unit 'paints' the targed and the missle homes on the reflected energy. The AIM-7 Sparrow is an example. In newer systems, the launching platform's radar unit guides the missle part of the way and then the missle's own radar takes over guidance so the launch platform can manuver, engage another target, etc. The AIM-120 AMRAAM uses this guidance. These are large and complex systems. They come on fighter jets, warships, or several large trucks with ranges from 15 to 100 miles and big warheads that will blow the crap out of anything flying. It takes electronic jamming to defeat these, and even then there is no guarantee. The good news is that until the terrorists start gaining access to real warships they can park off our coastline, these missles are not going to be a threat to domestic airlines.

    Optical guidance: Is just what the name implies, someone tracks the target and guides the missle to it. This is pretty rare as a form of primary guidance for anti-aircraft systems. The Royal Navy SeaCat is the only one I can think of that uses it. Some radar-guided systems have an optical mode as a secondary guidance should the illuminating platform go off the air. Again. these are pretty large and are also very rare.

    IR guidance: These are commonly referred to as 'heat seekers' but in reality, they work a lot like our TICs. In the early years, they could be defeated by simply climbing into the sun and rolling away. The missle would probably track the sun. Flares also worked well. Modern systems are much smarter. Laser systems work by blinding the missle's seeker head.

    The warheads in all these are detonated by either proximity fuse or contact. While contact sounds like the best way, in practically all cases, the preferred method is the proximity fuse. The warhead detects that the target is near and detonates so that the fragments (designed pieces, not just whatever breaks apart) deploy in a pattern to cause the most damage. Proximity fuses are old hat. We developed them in late WWII and they're used in everything from missles to tube artillery.

    End of lesson, now to the topic...

    As the article in the first post stated, what they're really trying to defeat are a specific family of IR guided weapons called MANPADs, the term means man portable air defense system and as it implies, one guy with very minimal training can operate them. They're produced in dozens of models by dozens of countries and there are probably over 100,000 or more in circulation worldwide. The news, however, is not all bad. They're short ranged - usually less than 3 miles, most of them are not overly accurate and often miss without any known reason, and they have small warheads. Fighters commonly survive MANPAD hits, large airliners and transports are even more survivable because they've got more mass to take a hit. Still, these are a threat, particularly in the takeoff and landing phase where the planes will be most vulnerable.

    Finally, if anybody is still awake, I think these defense systems on airliners make sense. No airliner is going to defeat a SAM by manuvering, the planes can't take the G loads, the pilots aren't trained for it, and a big plane with lots of engines just makes too easy of a target. We also can't go kicking out high-intensity flares over our cities, and we can't extend airports (in Atlanta, taxiways go over the interstate). Not deploying the only remaining viable option would be criminal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    It's a slow day at work...
    Here's some stuff on 747's doing barrel rolls.StraightDope
    AviationExplorer

    As you said, I wouldn't want to be riding in the back when it happens.
    LMFAO! That was great!
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    And people were all upset over President Reagan's desire to have a psace based missile defense system back in the 80s for the same reason.
    Where are all the mooks that were protesting nuclear power and weapons back then?They sure oughta find Iran to be just as heinous for wanting nuclear power and making threats to use nukes against anyone attacking them.Besides,in the 80s we had nuke plants but Iran doesn't seem to be building any.
    Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Chinese satellite strike condemned by U.S.

    Randy Boswell, CanWest News Service Published: Friday, January 19, 2007

    The White House says Canada has joined the U.S. and Australia in condemning China for shooting down one of its own satellites with a ground-based missile, a test that is raising fears of a new arms race in space.
    © CanWest News Service 2007

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    [B][COLOR=BLUE]Chinese satellite strike condemned by U.S.
    I think it's a little hypocritical that we make it US Policy to maintain our presence/advantage in space yet denounce China for trying to achieve the same thing.
    Additionally, the Bush space policy is designed to “ensure that space capabilities are available in time to further U.S. national security, homeland security, and foreign policy objectives.” Moreover, a fundamental goal of the policy is to “enable unhindered U.S. operations in and through space to defend our interests there.”
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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