- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 6, 2003

Lawmakers yesterday introduced legislation to fit civilian aircraft with anti-missile protection similar to that used on military transport planes to protect them from terror attacks like that against an Israeli jetliner last year.
"Shoulder-fired missiles are a serious threat to our airlines, our economy, and the personal safety of every American airline passenger," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat and a sponsor of the bill.
Mrs. Boxer, toting a shoulder-fired missile launcher, said available systems installed on U.S. C17s and C5As can identify when a plane is threatened, detect the source of the threat, jam the guidance system of the incoming missiles and steer it off its flight path.
The bill would require surface-to-air missile protection on all 6,800 commercial jetliners, at an estimated cost of between $7 billion to $10 billion and require that installation begin by the end of the year.
"This is a relatively small cost to address a very big threat," said Mrs. Boxer, adding that the money could come from the administration's missile-defense budget.
Until the installation began, the bill would direct President Bush to use the U.S. National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard to patrol airport perimeters to prevent attacks by shoulder-fired missiles.
On the morning of Nov. 28, two shoulder-launched missiles narrowly missed a packed Israeli charter flight carrying 261 passengers that had taken off minutes before from Mombassa, Kenya.

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