A Choice of Aircraft Options


Re: A new system for passenger aircraft to thwart shoulder-fired missles:

�Yes, it will cost money, but it's the same cost as an aircraft entertainment system,� Kubricky says.
Is it worth the cost?
A RAND Corp. study this year recommended postponing installation of anti-missile systems. The study assumed, however, that it would cost $11 billion � not the $6 billion Northrop now cites � to equip all U.S. aircraft with anti-missile technology.
Does $5 billion less really change the buy decision?


...your Rand link does not give any detail -- and therefore does NOT answer your 1st question: "Is it worth it ?"

The 'protection' offered by these devices is probably VERY low under real-world conditions -- likely well less than 20 % success-rate in defeating missiles.

'Billions-of-Bucks' matters a lot -- and there are much cheaper alternatives.

I agree that the RAND study doesn't answer the question directly. However, I think the
negative uncertainties that RAND noted, have not changed much:

� Annual operating costs would represent nearly 50 percent of what the federal government currently spends for all transportation security in the United States.
� Well-financed terrorists will likely always be able to devise a MANPADS attack scenario that will defeat whatever countermeasures have been installed, although countermeasures can make such attacks considerably more difficult and less frequent.
� Installing countermeasures to MANPADS attacks may simply divert terrorist efforts toless protected opportunities for attack. To put it another way, how many avenues for terrorist attack are there, and can the United States afford to block them all?

Also, let me clarify that the RAND study did not "assume" $11billion. It estimated, using a clear, open, checkable methodology, a ten year life-cycle cost of $40 billion.

I have no idea how the $6billion competing estimate was calculated.

And the RAND study does exlicitly ask "When should such an investment be worth it?". It states that there is a direct $1 billion cost for every downed airliner, and with that economic impacts totaling $15 billion over several months.

There are something like 700,000,000 passenger emplanements per year in the US. Charge them an extra $15 apiece and you've got your $11bn in one year (or charge $1.50 / emplanement for ten years, whatever). Sounds like a bargain to me!

The bad guys clearly think that hijacking or shooting down or blowing up US airlines has a lot of impact. We can't afford to block everything, but this is a barn door that needs closing.


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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on July 14, 2005 2:31 PM.

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