FedEx has filed a request with the US Federal Aviation Association (FAA) to add anti-missile lasers on some of its jets.
While laser technology is common for government planes, it’s very uncommon for commercial and civilian planes.
The FAA document said that “in recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS). This has led several companies to design and adapt systems like a laser-based missile-defence system for installation on civilian aircraft, to protect those aircraft against heat-seeking missiles”.
Business Insider reports that commercial and civilian planes have become targets in recent years. In 2003, a surface-to-air missile hit the left wing of an Airbus A330 operating for DHL just after take-off from Baghdad, Iraq, but the crew were able to escape unharmed. In 2014, a missile attack took out a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, killing 298 passengers.
If FedEx gets the go-ahead from the FAA, there will be a period of 45 days where public comments are to be welcomed on the matter.
Image credit: Flight Global