Posted by on January 14, 2022 8:09 pm
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FedEx requests FAA permission to add anti-missile laser system to cargo planes

A FedEx cargo plane is shown on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. FedEx is getting hurt by the tight job market. The package delivery company said Tuesday, Sept. 21 that its costs are up $450 million in the most recent quarter, as it paid higher wages as it got harder to find new workers and demand for shipping increased. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Wilfredo Lee/AP

FedEx requests FAA permission to add anti-missile laser system to cargo planes

Abigail Adcox January 14, 07:30 PMJanuary 14, 07:30 PM

FedEx is looking to add laser technology to some cargo planes that would counter incoming heat-seeking missiles.

The company asked for permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to equip some of its cargo planes with a missile defense system that would “emit infrared laser energy” outside of the aircraft as a “countermeasure against heat-seeking missiles,” according to a public notice filed with the Federal Register.

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“In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). This has led several companies to design and adapt systems like a laser-based missile-defense system for installation on civilian aircraft,” the filing stated.

One of FedEx’s competitors, DHL, was the victim of such an incident in 2003 when one of its cargo jets was hit by a missile after taking off in Baghdad. The crew was unharmed, according to CNN.

The proposal also talks about potential safety concerns, as infrared laser energy could be hazardous to people in the aircraft, on the ground, or in another aircraft. Infrared laser energy is also invisible to the naked eye, increasing the risks.

To address concerns, the FAA listed several conditions, including requiring that the design does not allow for “inadvertent operation of the system” while the plane is on the ground, including during maintenance.

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FedEx proposed to install the system on the Airbus A321-200 and would require the FAA’s approval to move forward. The FAA filing says the proposal will be subject to a 45-day public comment period.

The Washington Examiner reached out to FedEx for comment.

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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