FedEx Express is set to start testing an anti-missile system based on DIRCM (Directional Infrared Countermeasures) technology on its planes. The company plans to install the Guardian system, developed by Northrop Grumman, on eleven MD-10 freighters by the end of October.
The plan is to acquire 12,000 hours of operating time over an 18 month period, and use that data to analyse the system's reliability and its impact on commercial airline operations.
The move forms part of the US Department of Homeland Security's Counter-Manpads programme.
The programme aims to ascertain whether or not anti-missile systems using DIRCM technology are suitable for use on commercial planes.