Israel has taken measures to protect its commercial flights in the south against possible terror attacks from Sinai, outfitting planes with the SkyShield missile defense system, according to media reports on Monday.
The Defense Ministry issued the order for deployment of SkyShield to Arkia and Israir flights to Eilat two weeks ago, following the Islamic State-affiliated group’s large-scale attacks on Egyptian targets in the Sinai.
Testing of the SkyShield system was completed last year, and pronounced “100 percent successful” by military officials. The system combines lasers and a thermal camera to redirect the trajectory of ground-to-air missiles.
The Israeli government reportedly committed some $76 million to developing the system, which can be attached as a pod to the bottom of commercial aircraft.
Not all planes flying in and out of Eilat will be equipped with SkyShield, since it leads to more wear and tear on the planes, and the increased weight adds to fuel costs.