The ground-to-air missile attack against the Arkia Airlines plane after it took off from Mombasa, Kenya, is expected to accelerate the development of a special Made in Israel electronic warfare defense system for civilian airliners.
Sources said the system developed by an Israeli consortium will be offered to foreign airlines and the world’s two leading passenger aircraft makers, Boeing of the US and Europe’s Airbus.
Former transportation minister Efraim Sneh approved a budget transfer of several hundred thousand shekels to develop the system. The project’s high cost will require large budgets to manage and complete it, which will require the entry of a financial partner.
Among other things, the electronic defense suit will enable airliners to evade shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that are in widespread use among terrorist organizations.
Israeli airlines El Al, Arkia and Israir will probably equip their planes with the system, even though they are already equipped with the world’s most advanced technological defenses. Aviation and security sources said that the
attempt to shoot down the Arkia plane is expected to increase interest in the civilian electronic warfare defense system.
The system is being developed by collaborating defense companies: Israel Aircraft Industries subsidiary Elta Electronics Industries, Koor Industries subsidiary Elisra Electronic Systems and Rafael.
The antiterrorist headquarters at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Mossad and the General Securities Service (GSS), which is responsible for Israeli civil aviation security at home and abroad, are also involved in the project.
The need for a civilian electronic warfare defense system became apparent following the renewed threat to civil aviation by terrorist organizations like al Qaida and Hizbullah. A senior defense establishment sources told Globes that Hizbullah has placed attacking Israeli planes at the top of its list of overseas Israeli targets.