Saab''s new anti-missile system for business jets to be ready by end-2008

Saab hopes to win the approval of the European Aviation Safety Agency by the end of next year for its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (CAMPS), which it says is designed to protect business aircraft from surface to air missiles (SAMs), especially man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) like the Stinger missiles.

Saab says CAMPS is the only European protection system for civilian aircraft. It is based on existing countermeasures that Saab has developed and installed on military aircraft.

The system consists of a missile approach warning unit, an electronic controller that processes sensor information, and a countermeasure dispenser that launches combustible decoys to lure the incoming missiles away from the aircraft.

Each CAMPS installation will have four missile-approach warning systems to provide 360-degree coverage, and the ability to track up to eight missiles simultaneously. Saab says this is important, since attacks often involve multiple missiles.

Data from the warning units is processed by an electronic controller, which determines the optimal deployment of decoys from countermeasure dispensers mounted close to the engines, which are the heat-seeking missiles'' targets.

The decoys contain pyrophoric material that reacts on contact with oxygen. No detonation is required; they are activated by the aircraft''s fast-flowing slipstream, at more than 260 feet per second.

In the unlikely event that a decoy is accidentally released while the plane is on the ground, the slipstream activation feature means the material will not be exposed to sufficient oxygen to ignite.