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[万花筒] 【整理】2008-07-24&-07-26 民航客机反导弹系统

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Well the next time you fly, you may be on an airplane that is protected from shoulder-fired missiles. American airlines is helping the homeland security department test ways to protect those planes. Joining me now from Washington to talk more about the new system is Noah Shachtman of Wired Magazine. Good morning to you, Noah.

 

Morning.

 

What is this system called and how exactly does it work?

 

Ur, it’s an infrared counter measure, what it basically does is, it sits at the bottom of the plane, and it looks out for incoming missiles which are one of the deadliest and most pervasive terrorist threats out there, and so it looks out for missiles, and then when it finds one or if it finds one, it sends out a tiny infrared laser beam to sort of confuse the missile and send it off course.

 

All right, how many planes have this system in operation right now?

 

Well, only in the US, commercially there is only 3 and that’s a real problem, ur, the, this is one of the deadliest threats there are out there, there are over 750,000 of these missiles, ur, scattered across the globe, they cost only a few thousand bucks to buy and they can be shot off by just about any body, so they are easy to operate, they are plentiful and they are cheap. And many other countries like Israel for example, have these kind of measures on all their planes, but the US has only got this pilot experiment with 3.

 

Yeah, and we are looking at some pretty great video and graphics that are showing how this would work. Ur, American airlines, this jetline system, are they / the only ones with the three or is it spread across different airlines?

 

I believe it’s only American airlines right now, and even they have said that they are philosophically opposed to putting more of these, more of these missiles counter measures (Really? Why is that? It doesn't sound like it’s so expensive.) on their jets. Yeah. Well, it all comes down to money. Although some studies say it’ll only cost / a dollar per coast to coast trip to maintain, these defenses, American airlines and the other airlines have said that, that’s too much money for them. Ur, you know, look, these days they don't even give us like peanuts or soda on the plane right? (Right.) And they're charging us for extra bags, and so now they are trying to cheep out on this too.

 

Yeah, but I mean, don’t you think the consumers, if they know about this, they feel like, wow, you know, an extra dollar for this kind of security, I mean, is it pretty foolproof?

 

Ur, I don’t know if it’s foolproof, but it’s a lot better than what we’ve got now, which is nothing.

 

Yeah, how long do you think for them to continue to test this system, Noah?

 

I don’t know. Look, 5 years ago, there was a, very scary incident in Kenya, in which a pair of shoulder-fired missiles was fired at, ur, an Israeli jet, and it nearly blew it up, killing, almost killing hundreds, and so the Israeli government got on board and outfitted all their jets with these counter measures. 5 years later, only 3 of these jets in a test mode in the US, so you know, you keep that on, it’s gonna take till the, you know, it’s gonna be a thousand years before we have the US fleet outfitted.

 

Yeah, but I’ll tell you, if you are accurate, I mean just have a dollar of plane flight round trip, I mean, Noah, coast to coast. Hey, it’s so worth it, think about the other cost, just some like that happened. Anyway, Noah Shachman of Wired...(You think…) em, the what?

 

Yeah, you know, you think (You think.) I mean, you think if you’re gonna spend this money for an extra bag or for, you know to buy a sandwich on board, maybe you spend a dollar to have your plane protected against the missiles.

 

Yeah, I shall pony up. OK. Noah Shachtman there of Wired Magazine. Thank you.

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