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BAE | Contracts - Awards | Issues - Political | Lobbying | New Systems Tech | Protective Systems - Aircraft | T&C - RAND Corp. | USA

BAE Granted $45M to Build Airliner Missile Defenses as Debate Erupts in Congress

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BAE Systems has been granted US$45 million by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to build and test laser based prototypes of missile defense systems for commercial airplanes against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. Meanwhile, successor legislation to bill H.R. 580 will soon be re-introduced by Rep, David Israel (D-NY) in the 109th U.S. Congress. The bill may require commercial airplanes in U.S. airspace to be equipped with technology to guard against shoulder-fired missiles, a controversial measure that the airline industry is resisting. Congressional opinion is also divided. The Department of Homeland Security has already initiated a US$10 billion project to provide missile protection systems for commercial airlines. The system being developed by BAE Systems uses lasers to "blind" the missile, in a manner similar to Northrop-Grumman’s LAIRCM. Sensors detect the threat and automatically focus laser energy on the missile’s guidance system, throwing its seeker off course. Under the proposed legislation, meanwhile, the federal government would purchase the antimissile systems, but the airline industry would have to pay to maintain the equipment. Moreover, the airline industry would have to buy antimissile technology for any new aircraft entering the commercial fleet. The airline industry is opposed to such measures, while Congressional opinion is […]

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