The Internet was aflame this morning with talk of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's statement to 60 Minutes last night that his department has the ability to shoot down aircraft. Naturally, this prompted people to ask if the department has some type of surface-to-air-missiles. We've seen talk about the militarization of America's police departments over the past few decades but this would take things to a new level!
Here's what Kelly told 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley:
Pelley: Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?
Kelly: Yes, I prefer not to get into the details but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation.
Pelley: You have the equipment and the training.
At the end of the day, it turns out that the NYPD isn't running around with SL-AMRAAM's (pronounced slam-ram) like the ones that defend Washington DC, Patriot missiles or even shoulder-fired Stinger missiles. Nope, the department's anti-aircraft capacity comes from snipers trained to fire the famous Barrett .50 cal while flying in a police department helo. This is very similar to how the Coast Guard uses HH-65 Dolphin choppers to defend Washington DC against small, slow moving Cessna-style planes.
From the NY Post:
The weapon, which the department has had for four years, is stored in an NYPD safe and is deployed only for “special occasions,” such as when the president is in town, the sources added.
Let's just hope the NYPD doesn't start experimenting with using an AT-6 light attack plane for this mission like U.S. Northern Command did last November.
For more on helo-sniping, check out this post at sister site Kit Up!
Via Gizmodo and 60 Minutes.