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The Northrop Grumman Guardian anti-missile system test will continue until March 2008

An MD-10 cargo jet recently departed the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) equipped with Northrop Grumman's Guardian anti-missile system.  It was the first commercial flight in what will become an operational testing and evaluation of the system which was designed to protect against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile launchers.  The current generation of the Guardian system is based on Northrop's Nemesis, a defensive system used on cargo planes only -- specifically FedEx MD-10 aircraft.  

The Guardian system is a pod that weighs as much as two people and their luggage, and sits on the underbelly of the MD-10.  It works by first detecting a missile launch and then shooting a laser at it to hopefully disrupt the missile's guidance signals so that it will veer off course.    

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

The system is can now be installed on commercial aircraft, but the system still does not meet Department of Homeland Security reliability standards according to a government report.  Nine MD-10s will be equipped during a test period that will run through March 2008.

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Why have it on the plane?
By borowki on 1/19/2007 4:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
Given that the threat is only present during take off and landing, why not have the laser be ground-based instead? That'd surely be more economical and effective.

RE: Why have it on the plane?
By Ringold on 1/19/2007 8:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
The Israeli's are deploying such systems, I think.

RE: Why have it on the plane?
By crystal clear on 1/20/2007 5:02:46 AM , Rating: 2
Here is what you are looking for & talking about:

Northrop said it obtained a U.S. marketing license and last week briefed the Israeli government on a system called Skyguard that would use lasers to shield airport and other installations from rockets, ballistic missiles and other threats.

The system would generate a shield of five kilometers in radius, with the cost of shielding a typical airport put at around $25 million to $30 million.

McVey said Northrop was one of four to five bidders, and Israel expected to choose a rocket defense system soon.

Northrop also expected to finalize a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by the end of the week to study the possibility of using Skyguard to protect U.S. airports.

RE: Why have it on the plane?
By Ringold on 1/20/2007 2:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
Installations like that at key airports seem to make more sense to me, if any system at all had to be used for political gain.

Israel, on the other hand, has more serious need of them.

What astounded me isn't that it can intercept missiles -- no, thats mundane. It can intercept artillery, mortar fire, etc; now THAT's impressive.

RE: Why have it on the plane?
By masher2 on 1/20/2007 3:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Intercepting missiles with beams of light is trivial these multi-gigahertz modern electronics, such objects appear to be nearly standing still. Its intercepting them with other objects, such as kinetic kill vehicles, thats tough.

RE: Why have it on the plane?
By crystal clear on 1/20/2007 11:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
This could be interesting reading for you-

"China rattles America's cage with satellite shot"

China is reported to have shot down one of its own satellites, sparking international criticism and concern over the strength and sophistication of the nation's military.

Although there is nothing to suggest the test was carried out with hostile intentions, the fact that China feels able to demonstrate the capability to destroy orbiting technology satellites does cause eyebrows to raise in global political circles.

According to reports in the magazine American Aviation Week and Space Technology last week, China used a medium range ballistic missile to take down an old weather satellite. The US confirmed that the test had taken place, adding its voice to international concerns.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said that satellite interception tests - the first to have taken place for 20 years - were "inconsistent with the spirit of co-operation" in the civil space arena.

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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