Anti-Missile System or Not on Israeli commercial Aircraft ?

1 - Introduction
In September 2003, a year after an attempt was made to shoot down an Arkia Israel Airlines Boeing 757 in Mombasa, Kenya, the Israeli Ministry of Transportation decide to equip all Israeli Airline with Anti-Missile System.

At the beginning Elta Systems was selected to perform advanced flight tests of its System called Flight Guard. Unfortunately, the system has proved controversial, with both the FAA and EASA, raising fire hazard safety concerns and moreover Flight Guard System couldn't be installed on small Aircraft such as TurboProb, and in Israel, this is this kind of aircraft which are used on internal route.

Then Israel, looking for a new System which could answer to SAM Threat and to be in accordance with Forein Safety Agency such as FAA or EASA. This System develops by Elbit, is called C-MUSIC (Commercial MUlti-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure) and was tested at the beginning of 2013 on a Boeing 707 Aircraft.

Then Today, Israeli Commercial Aircraft are not fitted with anti-missile System, but will be in a near future. Anyway let's have a look on Flight Guard System, and C-MUSIC System.

2 - Flight Guard

IAI Elta Flying Test Bed equipped with Flight Guard System
The Flight Guard Self Protection System has been designed to protect military, para-military and civil aircrafts during their flight through endangered areas.
IAI/ELTA's Flight Guard Self Protection System is in service on aircraft and helicopters of the Israeli Air Force and has been field proven.
It has been proven that the Flight Guard Self Protection System has saved the lives of crews and passengers in aircrafts threatened by incoming missiles. This battle proven system is capable of detecting an approaching missile, warning the crew and automatically activating countermeasures that will divert the missile from its course, saving the aircraft and its passengers.

The ELTA/IAI Boeing 737 displayed at Le Bourget in 2007 is fitted with the company's Flight Guard Civil Aviation Missile Protection System.
The company believes that the range and altitude capability of modern man-portable SAMs threatens a zone of 25 miles (40km) and up to about 12,000ft (3,660m) around any airport.
It is, says the company, impossible to defend against SAM attacks on the ground, since these highly portable systems can be easily hidden, and can be launched from vehicles, boats, or densely populated metropolitan areas.

On one occasion, a formation of Sri Lankan helicopters was fired upon by five SAMs. The three Mi-17s in the formation were fitted with ELTA's system, and escaped unscathed (saving 90 troops and 12 crew) but the escorting Mi-24 had not been fitted with the system, and was downed.

2.1 - Design
The system is based around six miniaturised ELTA pulse-Doppler sensors, which can easily be located to give all round coverage. On the Boeing 737 demonstrator at Le Bourget four are fitted below the nose radome,

with two more further aft on the forward fuselage and two on the tailcone.

These are used to automatically trigger the release of IR decoy flares in the event of any attack. The system gives greater than 99% probability of missile detection, and has a very low false alarm rate.
Flare dispensers would usually be fitted in the wing-fuselage fairing as this does not involve penetrating the aircraft's pressure hull, and gives a minimum drag configuration. Installation is simple and quick, and does not require aircraft to be withdrawn from service for an extended period.


Boeing 707 from IAF equiped with C-MUSIC System
The system, employs a fiber-laser based directional infra-red countermeasure technology developed for military aircraft and helicopters. The laser beam generated by the system disrupts missiles fired at aircraft and causes them to veer off course.

Elbit Systems' MUSIC product line includes several products :

The baseline MUSIC system is designed for helicopters, business and special mission aircraft.
A derivative of the system called designed specifically for commercial aircraft (C-MUSIC) utilizes a more powerful laser and is designed for large platforms, including passenger aircraft, aerial tankers and large VIP aircraft. The systems are being certified for different types of aircraft and, together, will cover the entire market – from small platforms to the largest wide-body aircraft.

3.1 - Design
The MUSIC system comprises four main subsystems :
  • Threat detection,
  • Target tracker,
  • Laser exciter and
  • Beam director.
The entire system is self-contained in an aerodynamic gondola-shaped pod, attached to the aircraft belly, protruding only 30 cm above the fuselage line.
From this position the system provides full hemispheric coverage protecting the aircraft from multiple attacks from different directions. The whole system weighs about 50 kg and is designed to fit a wide range of platforms.

In the picture above, the pod is visible with PAWS sensors installed fore and aft and the MUSIC turret attached below. The MUSIC subsystem is shown in the picture below.

The system Initial detection of incoming threats is provided by an integral, or customer furnished missile warning systems (MWS). Elbit Systems has integrated the PAWS, produced by its subsidiary Elisra as part of the C-MUSIC). Once a missile launch or approach is detected, the system's tracker is activated. This module uses a sensitive thermal imager to spot and track the target indicated by the MWS.

The thermal imager and laser beam director are positioned in a turret placed on top of the pod. The turret employs highly accurate, gyro-stabilized gimbal and high speed motion system ensuring maximum laser energy is directed exactly at the missile's seeker. Unlike other laser-based DIRCMs, the MUSIC employs fiber-laser, placing the laser exciter in the pod, rather than in the turret, thus saving weight and reducing its size.

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