More fun for frequent fliers

The Americans have started to fly an experimental anti-missile system designed for commercial aircraft. The threat - nutters with shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles - hasn't actually materialised yet, although NWSLAAMs have attacked military jets and may have had a pop at an Israeli plane.

The Americans have started to fly an experimental anti-missile system designed for commercial aircraft. The threat - nutters with shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles - hasn't actually materialised yet, although NWSLAAMs have attacked military jets and may have had a pop at an Israeli plane. But nonetheless, an expensive and complicated solution is required, just in case. Other options - such as not selling nutters such things in the first place, trying not to motivate nutters to have a go in the first place, or instituting an air embargo of anywhere supportive of such nutterdom - are apparently not available.

The details of how the system work are also apparently not available, and neither is a good answer to how they're testing this. Northrop Grumman says that it's detected simulated launches and that, were real missiles detected, it would bat them away with an 'invisible laser beam safe to humans'. Nope, can't see that going wrong at all.

But the best bit of the system is the name - Guardian. Whether this means a cartoon hand appears from the belly of the plane clutching a rolled-up newspaper, the firing of explosive Guardian readers wrapped in Baco-foil and propelled by a carbon-neutral fuel, or the terminal confusion of guidance sytems by the dropping millions of tiny Toynbee-Monbiot op-ed pieces, it hints at something far more potent and terrifying than a mere infra-red laser.

My god. The humanity.

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