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Bill Seeks Airliner Defense System

February 10, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Two New York congressmen Sunday outlined proposed legislation for the federal government to spend as much as $15 billion to install missile defense systems on all commercial airliners.

The electronic equipment proposed by Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Steve Israel could be turned on in case of attack to jam the guidance systems of portable, shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles.

An unsuccessful attack on an Israeli airliner last year in Kenya raised concerns about the weapons, which can hit low-flying aircraft within three miles.

"This is a very, very serious danger," Schumer said.

Installation would cost $1 million to $1.5 million per plane, Schumer said; the congressmen said the equipment would cost the federal government from $7 billion to $15 billion.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker said such technology would have to be certified by the FAA before it could be installed, and no airlines have submitted proposals.

The bill, introduced by Schumer, Israel and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), also calls for increased security around airports where missiles could be launched.

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