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BAE Systems Counter-MANPADS JETEYE System Takes Flight On Commercial Airliner

American Airlines 767 aircraft outfitted with BAE Systems' JETEYE at Alliance Field, Fort Worth, Texas. Photo: Business Wire.

Fort Worth TX (SPX) Nov 11, 2005
BAE Systems last Thursday achieved a major milestone in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Counter-MANPADS Program with the first flight of its laser-based infrared countermeasures system on a commercial airliner.

The successful flight took place at Fort Worth Alliance Airport.

The commercial airliner missile protection system, called JETEYE, is currently installed and being flight tested on a Boeing 767 aircraft. Initial testing will focus on achieving key system performance objectives.

The tests are part of the DHS evaluation of the system's performance against multiple missile threats. Testing is scheduled to conclude by the end of this year with full U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification expected in January.

During Phase I and Phase II of the DHS program, which began in January 2004, BAE Systems developed the JETEYE system designed to provide protection to commercial aircraft against the threat of infrared guided missiles.

The JETEYE system's design is based on the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system, developed to protect military aircraft. A major focus of the 18-month program included working closely with experts from the commercial airline industry to ensure the system fits into the existing commercial airline infrastructure.

BAE Systems is partnered with American Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Services, which provided the Boeing 767 test aircraft as well as engineering services critical to the development and refinement of the JETEYE System's installation, operations and support concept.

"As a result of our partnership with the world's largest airline, we understand the challenges that the airlines face. Our installation approach minimizes any impact on airline operations," said Burt Keirstead, BAE Systems' Counter-MANPADS program director.

"We absolutely could not have done this without the support we received from the American Airlines maintenance and engineering team. They were integral in helping us understand how best to adapt this technology for seamless integration into the commercial airline industry."

BAE Systems has delivered more than 14,000 infrared countermeasure systems worldwide - more than all other companies combined. The company was selected by DHS in 2004 to adapt proven military technology to protect commercial aircraft against shoulder-fired missiles.

Infrared guided missiles have been used to shoot down aircraft in the past, and the likelihood of their use as a terrorist tool has increased since the attacks of September 11, 2001 and subsequent MANPADS missile attacks on civil aircraft in Kenya in 2002 and Baghdad in 2003.

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