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18 Jul, 2008 03:08

New Russian anti missile laser being displayed abroad

A laser which stops guided missiles from hitting aircraft is for the first time being displayed abroad. Its Russian producer expects to sell hundreds to civilian as well as military aircraft operators on growing concerns about terrorist attacks.

Defence experts call homing missiles the biggest threat to aircraft today. The CIA claims America's supply of Stinger missiles to the Mujahideen turned the course of the Afghan War against Russia. Now, a new Russian anti-missile system is being shown abroad for the first time. The Manta laser's attached to the aircraft and blocks or “jams” guided missiles.

A military transport planemaker is set to become its first customer next year. Manta claims to be cheaper and of “similar” quality to America's Guardian, which costs around a million dollars each. Demand for anti-missile systems is growing. Aleksandr Kisletsov, Head of Exports at Manta says,

The panic caused by terrorism threatens the very existence of flight. You need a technical response.

Manta's a joint venture with Spanish defence firm Indra. Aleksandr Mikheev, Deputy CEO of Rosoboronexport, the project's Russian partner says clients are now demanding the best of all worlds.

We can provide them with foreign European techniques. For example we have a good example with the Indian airforce Su-30 deal. There are 13 companies from 5 countries, as integrated companies on this project.

These MiG-29s on display by the Air Force of Slovakia are a reminder why Russia has to find new partners and diversify supply. The plane was acquired when the country was a Soviet satellite but it's now in NATO service. Fears of terrorism are expected to make anti-missile systems commonplace on civilian as well as fighter jets. Manta's also become a model for military cooperation with the West, as NATO encroaches on Russia's traditional partners.