GOP senator wants missile shields for airplanes

GOP senator wants missile shields for airplanes
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.) is calling for commercial airplanes to be equipped with missile defense systems after a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.

Kirk said Friday in an interview with CNN that the missile defense system would prevent a repeat of Thursday's crash, which killed the 298 passengers aboard the flight.

"I would have another suggestion that there is a system called DIRCM, which could potentially defeat heat-seeking missiles looking to shoot down a civilian airliner," Kirk said after calling for "one hell of a wrongful death suit" to be filed against Russia.

"It is an active defense system," Kirk continued. "DIRCM cost about $2 million each to blind a heat-seeking missile that is coming at you."

U.S. and Ukraine officials have said believe the flight was shot down by Russian separatists who have been battling Kiev in a dispute over the country's shared border with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Ukraine bears responsibility for shooting down the jetliner because the incident occured in the latter country's airspace.

Kirk said Friday that the evidence thus far points to Russia as being the culprit.

"It does appears the Buk missile system is so complicated that it would need a back-up from a nation state, like Russia," he said. "That would mean that Russian armed forces are directly involved in this wrongful death of roughly 300 people."

Only one of the nearly 300 passengers who were on board the downed plane have been found to be a U.S. citizen thus far, but Kirk said he still hoped the Department of Justice would get involved in the investigation of the incident.

"I want to hear that the Department of Justice will bring one hell of a wrongful death suit against Russian assets that are located in the United States to make sure there is a significant cost paid by Russia for this action of shooting down an international airliner with a weapons system that is directly related to the Russian forces," he said.