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Schumer: Feds need to study anti-missile technology
NEW YORK -- The tragedy of the Malaysia airlines flight and the missile attacks near Israel's main airport have local leaders concerned.
NY Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the government to look into whether American planes should be equipped with devices that would protect from missiles.
A similar study was conducted in 2004, but nothing came out of it. Since then, missile systems have changed and technology has advanced.
Senator Schumer says he now wants the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the FAA to revisit the issue, and come up with a comprehensive study of the threats of missiles to American passenger planes.
The study would look into different types of devices such as on board lasers, warning systems, flares, or infrared countermeasure systems.
Senator Schumer says these kinds of devices could be used to protect commercial airlines from being attacked by missiles during take offs, landings, or while the planes are in the sky.
Most military planes in the U.S. are equipped with this types of technology, but the majority of commercial airliners are not.
This type of technology is not cheap, it could cost from one to two million dollars per plane, and it's not clear who would pay for it, but Senator Schumer says no price is too high to protect American fliers.
"We can't let this happen to an American passenger plane, especially when anti-missile technology is such a reality," says Sen. Schumer. "They must determine if anti-missile technology on commercial planes in the U.S. is needed in order to protect American fliers."
According to Schumer, the government accountability office suggests that more than 500,000 portable surface-to-air missiles are in existence worldwide, with a substantial number acquired by terrorists.