FedEx wants anti-missile defense system on cargo planes
The agency said that the "FedEx missile-defense system directs infrared laser energy toward an incoming missile, in an effort to interrupt the missile's tracking of the aircraft's heat," according a Friday filing by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS)," the FAA document says. "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."
"This action proposes special conditions for the Airbus Model A321-200 airplane. This airplane, as modified by FedEx Express (FedEx), will have a novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes.
"This design feature is a system that emits infrared laser energy outside the aircraft as a countermeasure against heatseeking missiles. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature.
"These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards." ■