U.S. House Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. Rep. Don Young, Chairman
Contact: Steve Hansen (Director of Communications) (202)
Justin Harclerode (Deputy
Director of Communications) (202) 226-8767
Requiring Missile Defense Protections For Airbus A380 Aircraft
Introduced In Congress
With Capacity To Carry 800 Passengers Is An Irresistible Target” -
Washington, D.C. - Legislation that requires the installation of
anti-terrorist missile defense systems on Airbus A380 aircraft - the
largest commercial passenger plane - was introduced today by U.S. Rep.
John L. Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation.
Mica’s legislation (H.R. 2905) directs the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) to require the counter-MANPADS (Manned
Portable Air Defense Systems) equipment on Airbus A380 aircraft within
two years of the equipment being certified by the FAA.
was one of the primary authors of the aviation security
legislation approved after the September 11th terrorist attacks and has
sponsored several other aviation anti-terrorism bills.
"Shoulder-launched missiles or
MANPADS continue to be one of the greatest threats to commercial
aviation,” Mica said.
“While it may be difficult to attack domestic aviation in light of the
security measures we have put into place, the availability of MANPADS
is a cause for concern.
“This legislation is the next
logical step to protect commercial aviation from the threat posed by
shoulder-fired missiles. The U.S. Government has spent $161
million for the research and development of counter-MANPADS systems to
protect commercial aircraft.
“This bill sets a reasonable
timeline. The installation and operation of counter-MANPADS
systems would not be required until two years after the systems are
certified airworthy and safe by the FAA.
“When you launch a new aircraft
that can carry the population of a small village it must require - at a
minimum - a missile defense system as standard operating equipment.
“It is just plain common sense
that an aircraft such as the Airbus A380, which has the capacity to
carry as many as 800 people, nearly double the number of passengers
that aircraft to date have been able to accommodate, is a potentially
irresistible terrorist target.
“We know that terrorists,
particularly al-Qaeda, are looking for the means to cause the greatest
destruction, largest number of casualties, and to bring the world
economy to a standstill.
“Moreover, we know that
terrorists continue to consider commercial aviation an attractive
target because of the public spectacle such attacks generate and
because the world economy is increasingly dependent upon aviation.
“MANPADS attacks are nothing
new. In fact, in the last three years, terrorists have used
MANPADS against passenger aircraft in Africa and the Middle East.
Additionally, MANPADS are available on the gray and black market and at
least 27 non-governmental entities, including al-Qaeda, have these
“We must make every effort to
protect commercial aviation from the threat posed by MANPADS. It
is logical to take a phased approach to such a challenging
endeavor. Therefore, starting with extremely large passenger
aircraft capable of carrying such a large number of people - more
people than live in some of the cities and towns in my District - makes
good common sense. These aircraft must be protected because they
are especially attractive targets.”
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