Air Defense: December 4, 2002

Archives

: Why did the missiles fired at an Israeli airliner in Kenya miss? We will never know, but there are several possible factors:

@ The missiles were an old Soviet design and not as smart as newer models. They could track an aircraft only if within 10 degrees of its axis of flight (from the rear). Their electronics might have been corrupted or other parts could have been corroded.

@ Israeli airliners have unspecified defenses, probably infrared jammers.

@ Modern turbofan engines used on airliners (to reduce noise) surround the hot exhaust with a wall of normal air, reducing the cone from which a missile can track them even more. The mixing of the exhaust with this bypass air also cools it enough to reduce the chances of lock-on. As the pilots saw smoke trails, the missiles presumably worked but simply did not lock onto the aircraft. Older aircraft get the same defensive benefits with the addition of "hush kits".)--Stephen V Cole

 


Article Archive

Air Defense: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close