Law on Downing "Suicide" Airliners to Be
Adopted in April
(RIA Novosti) — Colonel General Yuri Solovyov, commander of the
Special Troops Command, has announced that from this April the
air defense forces of Russia will be allowed to down passenger
liners hijacked by terrorists, if the latter plan to crash the
planes at strategic facilities in Moscow, Gazeta.ru reports.
He said, "the
legislation necessary for such emergency actions" is being
drafted. His forces, which are responsible for the air defense
of Moscow and Central Russia up to the Urals, have taken measures
to effectively prevent terrorist attacks from the air.
of the Air Force forwarded the first idea of shooting down hijacked
planes over Moscow and other big cities of Russia to the Russian
leadership after 9/11 in the US. Anatoly Kornukov, then commander
of the Air Force, suggested placing men armed with portable air
defense systems on the roofs of Moscow high-rise buildings.
The idea resurfaced
in December 2004, when Vladimir Vasilyev, head of the State Duma
security committee, said, referring to the draft law "On
Combating Terrorism," that the air defense forces would be
granted the right to down planes hijacked by terrorists intending
to use them to attack strategic facilities.
arose when the authors of the law reached the crucial element,
responsibility. Nobody wants to assume responsibility for downing
a passenger plane. On the whole, the mechanism could work without
a hitch, if it were not for one thing: if a hijacked plane takes
off from the nearest airport, its flight time to the center of
Moscow would be 40-50 seconds. Besides, the ground-based controller
must be 100% sure that the plane will be used in a suicide attack.
did not specify who would make the decision to down a passenger
plane over Moscow within 30 seconds, but it will surely not be
the president. A duty officer will most probably make the decision.
The military is waiting for April, when the scheme is approved
by the State Duma, the Federation Council and the President.