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Airport security to get laser and microwave guns
Fighting the war against exploding batteries

The Inquirer / Nick Farell | October 26 2006

US AIRPORT security staff are going to be equipped with laser and microwave blasters batteries under a cunning plan being tested by Homeland Security.
According to defensetech.com, Homeland Security is to spend $4.1 million to test out Raytheon's "Vigilant Eagle" system at airports.

Apparently the department is worried that terrorists might get their paws on some ground to air rocket launchers and bring down aircraft.

The Vigilant Eagle system uses a series of microwave pulses to throw off a missile's guidance package. So instead of a missile hitting an aircraft, it will swerve and fall harmlessly into any buildings that might be near the runway.

The system uses a series of passive infrared trackers, installed around an airport, would look out for missile exhaust. If one of these detect a launch, data about the missile's trajectory is sent to a control centre, which in turn tells a billboard-size microwave array where to blast.

As defensetech.com points out, what this does to a plane's avionics system is anyone's guess. Nor is it clear how they will test it, given the fact that no terror group has actually tried to bring down a plane in the US with a ground to air rocket launcher.

It has been estimated that to tackle this particular threat to airports, the US would have to spend about $50 billion over ten years to install and maintain the system.

More here.


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