RealNews

Panel reviews aviation threat

Goal is to thwart shoulder-fired missiles. A congressional subcommittee this morning will begin to examine how to protect American airliners from lethally accurate, easy-to-smuggle missile systems. The House Aviation Subcommittee, chaired by John Mica, R-Fla., will convene in closed session to address the threat of shoulder-fired missiles, which Mica spokesman Gary Burns calls a “clear and present danger to our aviation industry.” According to Pentagon documents, there are well more than 500,000 of these missiles, known to the military as MANPADS — “for man-portable air defense systems” in circulation worldwide. Many terrorist groups are said to possess these sophisticated weapons, which reach supersonic speeds and can climb up to 15,000 feet. On Thanksgiving, al Qaeda operatives armed with four Russian-designed and manufactured MANPADS fired two missiles at an Israeli airliner departing from Mombasa, Kenya. They missed their their mark, sparing hundreds of passengers. However, MANPADS have already destroyed at least 30 civilian aircraft. Full Story

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