Lasers and Airliners

I doubt I’ll be flying anytime soon–especially after reading this from Sgt. Stryker:

Lasers are not being used to blind pilots. Lasers are being used to measure straight line distance from the ground to an aircraft at its most vulnerable state – landing. An aircraft on takeoff would be a more difficult target – maximum power and maximum climb. But a landing ship slows down to a speed just short of a stall and follows a prescribed path of flight.

The information regarding an aircraft’s peak vulnerability would be invaluable. Documenting landing approaches and and straight line distances would be highly useful in target acquisition. That information is critical regarding available weapons systems.

Since 2002, the FBI has been issuing warnings about shoulder fired missiles being smuggled into the U.S. The effective range of older shoulder fired missiles is between 11,000 and 15,000 feet and can be fired from up to 3 miles away from the target. Newer models, which are already bring copied by the likes of North Korea, China and Pakistan have ranges exceeding 22,000 feet with greater stand off distances.

In September of 2003, the Department of Homeland Security began soliciting bids for anti-missile devices for commercial aircraft. That was the beginning of an 18 to 24 month screening process.

In late December of 2004, it was revealed that Los Angeles Airport (LAX) was increasing its preparedness for a shoulder fired missile attack. John Miller, head of the LAPD Counterterrorism Bureau, explained that about 20,000 shoulder-fired missiles were currently on the black market. The black market prices range from $5,000 to $30,000, presumably based on the vintage of the weapon.

We have seen how cost conscious terrorists tend to be. Why waste an investment of $5000 to $30,000 when it turns out your target is beyond the range of your black market missile.

The laser activity is more than likely a target acquisition exercise.

And people are taking notes.

This confirms what I’d been thinking, but I’ve got no military background. Let’s pray our security forces get hold of these guys with the lasers before they figure out how to target and take down a planeload of innocent passengers.

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