Israeli airline installs anti-missile systems on jets

El Al Israel Airlines will install anti-missile systems on six passenger jets that fly to areas where the al Qaida terror network has been active, an Israeli transportation official said today.

Installation of the £559,000 (€813,000) Flight Guard systems – meant to obstruct a ground-to-air missile fired at a plane – will begin in the coming days, said Yitzhak Raz, the project’s director at Israel’s Transportation Ministry.

Israel decided to install anti-missile systems on some of its passenger jets in 2002, after militants in Kenya fired two shoulder-launched missiles at an Israeli Arkia airplane in Kenya, narrowly missing their target.

El Al, Israel’s flagship airline, will decide which planes require the expensive equipment, based on intelligence and whether their destinations include areas that al Qaida has been active, Raz said.

Flight Guard, developed 10 years ago by Israel Aircraft Industries for use on military planes, responds automatically to an approaching heat-seeking missile, firing flares to divert the missile from the aircraft.

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