BAE Systems awarded $45 million aircraft protection contract

The US Department of Homeland Security has awarded BAE Systems $45 million to develop, test and evaluate a system that protects commercial aircraft against attacks from infrared guided missiles.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has selected BAE Systems to participate in Phase II of its Counter-MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) program to protect commercial aircraft against threats posed by infrared guided missiles.

The missiles, commonly called MANPADS, have been used to shoot down civilian airliners and increasingly have become regarded as a potential terrorist weapon.

Under a $45 million DHS award, BAE Systems’ Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) unit in Nashua, New Hampshire, will develop, test and evaluate a prototype system using existing military and commercial technology. Phase II is expected to last 18 months, followed by a DHS recommendation to the US Government.

BAE Systems originated counter-IR defence electronic technology in the early 1970s, and has delivered more than 14,000 countermeasure systems for the military.

The BAE Systems’ proposal is based on the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) and Common Missile Warning System (CMWS). Developed for the US Army and currently in production, the system provides directable, laser countermeasures for protection of aircraft against heat-seeking missiles.