“In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS),” the FAA document says. “This has led several companies to design and adapt systems like a laser-based missile-defense system for installation on civilian aircraft, to protect those aircraft against heat-seeking missiles.”
Now aviation regulators will hear 45 days of public comment before approving “a system that emits infrared laser energy outside the aircraft as a countermeasure against heatseeking missiles” on Airbus A321-200 aircraft.
The FAA document says FedEx started the government approval process for modifying A321-200s back in 2019, even though the company does not yet own such aircraft. FedEx has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
The FAA stipulates that any approval must include “means that prevent the inadvertent activation of the system on the ground, including during airplane maintenance and ground handling,” since laser accidents “can result in eye and skin damage.”