Anti-missile devices to protect commercial aircraft

Teams led by BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines are to determine whether a viable technology exists that could be deployed to address the potential threat that shoulder-fired missiles pose to commercial aircraft.

Teams led by BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines have been awarded contracts to determine whether a viable technology exists that could be deployed to address the potential threat that shoulder-fired missiles, or ‘MAN-Portable Air Defense Systems’ (MANPADS)’, pose to commercial aircraft.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology division, the three companies will each receive approximately $2 million for the first part of the project, which will last approximately six months.

During this time, the contractors will produce a plan to adapt military missile detection and countermeasure technologies that can be deployed in a commercial aircraft environment.

The work carried out by the companies is the first part of the DHS program that will also analyse the economic, manufacturing and maintenance issues that are important when operating counter-MANPADs systems in the civil aviation environment.

The second phase of the program will involve the production of a prototype demonstration system.

The three companies were selected from among twenty four candidates that submitted White Papers in response to a solicitation issued in the first week of October 2003.