Airlines to Test Anti-Missile Systems

I’ve been hearing for years that commercial airlines had been considering adding some type of anti-missile defense system. The first tests are right around the corner.

American Airlines will arm as many as three planes with the systems, starting in the spring, on transcontinental flights, probably to/from NY and California. It’s called Jeteye (and designed by Obi-Won Kenobi?).

The general idea is that some type of counter-measure would deploy in the case of an in-coming terrorist’s-shoulder-fired missile.

I had two questions:

  1. How will they test the systems? Apparently, they won’t even be armed. Which begs another question: why bother?
  2. How do they work? I’ve read they are of two general types: either a laser that “jams” the missile’s guidance system, or some solid chunks of stuff, called “chaff,” that confuses the missile.

Which makes me think: why not just use a warning system and have the flight attendants chuck out frozen trays of “beef medallions in red wine sauce”? It serves two purposes: saving the plane and saving the passengers from eating the airline food.

[Via Engadget]