Delivery giant FedEx is asking federal regulators for permission to install countermeasures in its cargo jets designed to thwart missile attacks, according to a notice published in the Federal Register.
“In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS),” FedEx says in the public notice. “This has led several companies to design and adapt systems like a laser-based missile-defense system for installation on civilian aircraft, to protect those aircraft against heat-seeking missiles.”
FedEx adds that it wants to install a missile-defense system that “directs infrared laser energy toward an incoming missile, in an effort to interrupt the missile’s tracking of the aircraft’s heat.”
The company notes that infrared laser energy can pose a hazard to people on the aircraft, on the ground, or on other aircraft, and it proposes a series of steps to mitigate that danger. The system would have to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
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