Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS)

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 6
Words: 1597
Reading time:
6 min

Write three pages about presenting your opinion of what the current state-of-the-art MANPAD mitigation system should be. Reinforce your opinion with facts

Travel and tourism are now among the world’s largest industries. Air travel has become a vital constituent in contemporary day travel as a result of its fast speed and associated benefits. However, this is widely associated with security fears because of the invention of the Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS).

They are specifically designed to be used by individuals or small teams of soldiers against small aircraft attacks and they are easy to smuggle, lightweight, and much proliferated. MANPADS have channeled weapons and are a threat to low-flying aircraft. They are also referred to as shoulder-fired missiles.

This system (MANPAD) is relatively inexpensive, widely available in the international weapons market and they are also lethal to aircraft. MANPADS are relatively easy to use since one is only required to know the target and make active the (automatic) lock and initiate system by towing the trigger. The vulnerability of air travel is high as an attack could lead to so many deaths especially for the civilians or passengers on board as they are usually unprotected.

Presently, there have been numerous attacks on aircraft through MANPADS in many countries. For instance, on September 3, 1978, flight (825) was shot down by the Zimbabwe Peoples Revolution Army. There was a MANPAD attack in 1994 in Rwanda which is presumably the most deadly MANPAD attack on a plane that was carrying leaders of Rwanda and Burundi. It is argued that the attack fuelled the Rwanda genocide where 800,000 people died.

In 2002, it is believed that an al-Qaeda-associated terror group attacked an airplane in Mombasa in Kenya. It is important to note that most of the attacks happen in African countries which poses a question of how well these counties are prepared against the attack of their aircraft. Some countries do not exercise ample and correct accounting of their security making them open to theft and attacks. The likelihood of these attacks has led to several inventions in terms of improving the security of those on board (Chow et al., 2005).

In mitigating the threat posed by MANPAD, measures have to be put in place to combat this vice. Some of the measures would include susceptibility reduction, vulnerability reduction, and nonproliferation. In summary, susceptibility reduction involves enacting measures to ensure that the aircraft is not hit by the MANPAD and the vulnerability reduction entails improving the aircraft survivability if it is hit by the MANPAD.

On the other hand, nonproliferation entails preventing the end-users from creating problems like criminal acts in the aircraft or rather rendering the already safety measures obsolete. As a means of improving the susceptibility reduction, measures like patrolling around the airport and its perimeter walls would go a long way in beefing up security around the port areas. Qualified personnel is required and sophisticated equipment is accorded to them. We could also employ the use of technical countermeasures like infrared decoy flares, directed infrared countermeasures, and missiles warning systems.

Vulnerability reduction would involve modifying the aircraft to make it survive should it be hit by a MANPAD. This mainly dwells on the improvement of the structural makeup of the aircraft. This could be achieved through several factors put into considerations such as installation of self-sealing fuels lines, consolidating of vital parts that are susceptible to an external threat, improvement of fire containment systems, and separation of flight controls.

Lastly, non-proliferation involves ensuring the already installed safety measures are not countered or rather the security measures already in place are not effective to help reduce cases of MANPADS happening in aircraft. This calls for all stakeholders to put in place checks and balances and to ensure that the appropriate mechanisms are put in place and are effective in solving security threats at the aircraft’s lanes.

There are various initiatives to counter this such as export controls of MANPADS which regulate MANPADS from getting into the wrong hands, a forum for security cooperation where member states propose projects for tackling MANPAD-related issues among others (Stohl, Matt, and Smith, 2007).

In summary, governments or states, or countries should enact measures to ensure that their airlines or aircraft and their surroundings have adequate security so that people traveling and the cabin crew is safe. Decisions concerning the installation of countermeasures must be looked into by any airline operator.

It is important to note that no countermeasure can reduce the possibility of an attack by MANPADS to zero. In that context, investigations (inventions and innovations) and more resources have to be devoted to continuously and consistently looking into how best to improve security from time to time. Safety should be a primary factor to ensure that all those in transit are safe and reach their designated destination safely.

Write three pages about examining the issue of planning the airport of the future in terms of minimizing the MANPAD threat. It is far easier to build systems into new designs than it is to attempt to modify existing ones

Threats related to MANPAD are so real and have caused a lot of damage and deaths hence necessitating the establishment of some strategies aimed at minimizing the threats and making airlines and air travel better and safer.

The airport is a central point of concern and hence there is a dire need for identification of effective measures that should be incorporated in the planning of the airport such that the MANPAD threats are minimized or else avoided even though complete elimination of the threats would require a considerable amount of time due to the extent to which the MANPAD related weapons have spread. The measures should be aimed at maximizing security for all those involved especially the civilian aircraft because security will help in eliminating most of the MANPAD effects more especially deaths.

To minimize the MANPAD threats, future airports ought to consider some substantial changes or improvements in all their practices. For instance, they should utilize various advanced technological measures to counter some of the threats. Technology has advanced to help solve some of the problems experienced in various fields of industries and the airline should make maximum use of advanced technology for their advantage and the benefit of all those involved.

A very appropriate example could be that of designing the airports in a manner that will allow for the installation of some ground-based systems which work under the principle of lasers where high energy lasers and microwave energy is used to draw away missiles and other forms of attacks.

Price (2009) asserts that there have been some suggestions to use some technologies to counter the MANPAD threats but since they are not enough, there should be more inventions and implementation of advanced technologies to ensure that this ordeal is dealt with accordingly. Some of the technological applications advocated for include the use of aerial vehicles around airports (the vehicles are usually unmanned). The aerial vehicles utilize laser (expertise). The above are some of the factors that should be taken into consideration in conniving of airports in future among others all aimed at minimizing the threats.

There has been controversy regarding the measures that should be taken in the design of the airports with some experts and groups arguing that it is far easier to build systems into new designs than it is to attempt to modify existing ones and others supporting the idea of making some modifications to the existing systems due to some factors like the cost involved.

For example, according to Kirshner (2006), it could be a very costly operation to build systems into new designs and since there are programs that have already been established to develop systems to counter the attacks, it would be better to modify them because they have consumed a lot of money and other resources like time. This is, however, not enough justification compared to the effects of the MANPAD that necessitate taking of appropriate measures irrespective of the cost incurred.

New systems have been advocated for by many as they are deemed to incorporate all the desired attributes from the design stage to completion hence making them more efficient and effective in handling most of the problems associated with MANPAD even though they are thought to be very costly in terms of establishment and maintenance. The new systems should incorporate the state of the art attributes, for example, systems designed with the main aim of diverting away heat-seeking projectiles which have been made possible by aspects like light beams and flare dispensers in the airlines. For this reason, there have been some initiatives aimed at evaluating all aspects linked with the building of the new systems for instance their effectiveness and viability in comparison with the cost involved.

The new systems are considered to be more efficient and effective in reducing threats from the missiles and terrorist attacks particularly because of the incorporation of the various technological aspects thought to allow for efficiency, effectiveness, and economy.

The effects of MANPADS are great due to their widespread activities and practices facilitated by the various terrorist groups that are located and well established in various parts of the world. This calls for a lot of efforts if the effects are to be fully mitigated and hence all those involved should actively participate in the mitigation process through the adoption of proposed measures. The root cause of these problems should be appropriately identified so that it becomes easier to put in place effective measures capable of reducing these effects if not eliminating them.

Reference List

Chow, J. et al. (2005). Protecting Commercial Aviation against the Shoulder-Fired Missile Threat. CA: RAND Corporation.

Kirshner, J. (2006). Globalization and National Security. USA: CRC Press.

Price, J.C (2009). Practical Aviation Security: Predicting and Preventing Future Threats. New York: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Stohl, R., Matt S, and Smith, D. (2007). The Small Arms Trade. Oxford: Oxford University Press.