Farnborough: BAE Systems' JetEye infrared missile defence system has completed its first flight on a scheduled American Airlines aircraft flying from New York's John F Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. The flight marks the final phase of a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programme to test the suitability of missile protection equipment for commercial aircraft.
The technology has been successfully evaluated on an American Airlines test aircraft and an ABX Air, Inc. cargo aircraft in previous tests.
As part of the DHS Counter-Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) programme, JetEye will be installed on two further American Airlines 767-200 aircraft for daily cross-country flights between now and March 2009, a BAE Systems statement said. The tests are intended to demonstrate the system's maintainability and reliability, as well as overall suitability with the airline industry.
There will be no live-fire testing during these flights.
"BAE Systems worked closely with DHS and the airline industry to develop an effective response to potential terrorist threats," said Burt Keirstead, JetEye system programme director for BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire. "It took a combination of ingenuity and perseverance to get to this point, and everyone involved is proud of the results."
BAE Systems is partnered with American Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Services, which provided the test aircraft and engineering services for the development and refinement of the JetEye system's installation, operation, and support.
The JetEye system draws from expertise developed by BAE Systems during decades of effort protecting military aircraft with directable infrared countermeasures technology. DHS awarded BAE Systems a $29 million contract for this final suitability evaluation phase of the Counter-MANPADS programme in January.
The company developed the JetEye system during earlier phases of the programme, which began in January 2004.