How works anti-missile defense system on El Al commercial aircraft?

El Al is the only commercial airline to equip an anti-missile defense system in its planes to protect them from surface-air missiles and is considered as one of the safest airlines.

The working mechanism of the anti-missile defense system…

In 2004, Israel El Airline became the first airline to equip the antimissile system on commercial airlines which was based on the technology developed for the Israeli airforce “Flight Guard” a sophisticated radar system detecting incoming missiles and ejecting flares to confuse and deflect the missiles was installed on the aircraft which was traveling on the hostile territories in Africa, Middle East, and India.

When a plane comes under attack, the system responds by firing flares that are designed to divert the heat-seeking missiles. More specifically, the planes will be equipped with a Doppler radar system (a radar system that uses the doppler effect to produce velocity data about objects at a distance).

This radar system is made up of four antennas; one at the front, two at the sides, and one at the back which gives 360-degree radar coverage around the aircraft.

Photo: Getty Images

C-Music system…

But the Flight Guard was controversial, the FAA and Swiss aviation officials called it a fire hazard and the Swiss government threatened to ground any commercial airlines with the system onboard. Later on, engineers came up with a new technology which is the C-Music system.

The aircraft are using the C-Music system which is installed on the bottom of the plane as they try to throw off the sensor on a heat-seeking missile by pointing a laser at the weapon sensor drawing it off course.

Fully automated system…

It is a completely automated system in which there is no pilots involved. If any missiles come in the radar of the aircraft, within seconds, a powerful laser beam is then fired accurately at the missile causing it to be deflected away from the aircraft.

The system is fully automated because the reaction time should be less than 1 or 2 seconds but the pilot might be in shock so they cannot react quickly within this time frame. And the pilot will get information regarding the attack once the threat is over.

Published by
Sharad Ranabhat