US tests missile defence system on civil aircraft

BAE Systems is to test a missile defence system for use on passenger aircraft under a $29m contract with the US Department of Homeland Security

The company will install its Jeteye aircraft missile defence system on up to three American Airlines aircraft as part of the DHS's counter-man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) programme. BAE Systems will evaluate the system's compatibility with daily passenger airline operations and maintenance.

There will be no testing of the Jeteye system's missile-defeating capability, as that testing was done at US government test ranges during an earlier phase of the programme.

"From the beginning, we actively engaged with US cargo and passenger carriers to commercialise our technology to meet the needs of the airlines," said Burt Keirstead, director of commercial aircraft programs for BAE Systems. "We're confident that the passenger-aircraft phase of the programme will provide valuable data for DHS's findings, providing critical, fact-based information to the airline industry and policy-makers."

The Jeteye system is based on BAE Systems' existing directable infrared countermeasures technology, used to protect military aircraft.

The US counter-MANPADS programme is designed to commercialise proven military technology and gauge its suitability for protecting commercial aircraft by evaluating its performance, impact on aerodynamic drag, weight, reliability, maintainability and system cost.

Image: BAE Systems will install the defence system on American Airlines planes

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