BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 25 December, 2002, 23:51 GMT
Israel seeks US anti-missile help
El Al airliner
No one protects its airliners more fiercely than Israel
Israel is hoping to develop a new anti-missile system for commercial aircraft jointly with the United States, Israeli political sources say.

It also recently approached European powers about setting up a security consortium to deal with the threat, following a failed attack on one of its planes in Kenya last month.

Missile launcher used in Mombasa attacks
A packed Israeli airliner narrowly escaped destruction in Kenya
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly approved a recommendation from his defence minister on Wednesday to pursue the anti-missile project with Washington.

It is not yet clear if the Americans have already been approached about the project - they have made no official comment on Mr Sharon's decision.

Senior political sources in Jerusalem told Israeli radio that the prime minister had accepted Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz's proposal to "go ahead with a joint US-Israeli project for the production of advanced systems to protect civilian aircraft against missile attacks".

General Mofaz recently mooted the idea of installing defence systems on 30 to 40 of the state airline El Al's planes which service international destinations believed to pose the greatest risk to commercial aircraft.

Stop-gap systems

El Al is believed to already employ such systems on several planes.

But Israel has refused to confirm or deny if the airliner which narrowly escaped two shoulder-launched missile attacks at Mombasa Airport in November was among them.

According to the radio's sources, the Israeli Government is also considering the use of two other anti-missile systems on airliners as a temporary measure:

  • The Nurim system which fires flares to deflect heat-seeking missiles from their target - it is already installed on most military aircraft, but wider use would require US approval
  • A system under development in Israel for adaptation to civil aviation use which employs electronic means to confuse a missile's targeting apparatus.

Cutting cost

Israeli Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, currently touring European capitals, has called for international co-operation on anti-missile systems to bring down the cost of their production.

He said that airlines worldwide faced a "clear and present danger" of missile attack.

Mr Netanyahu proposed creating an "international consortium... the kind of technology we have perfected in Israel that can protect civilian airlines from incoming missiles".

Missile deflection systems currently fitted to military aircraft are considered inadequate for much bigger and less manoeuvrable commercial airliners.


Key stories

Analysis

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

09 Dec 02 | Africa
19 Dec 02 | Middle East
18 Nov 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes