BAE Systems, Fort Worth, and Northrop Grumman have successfully tested separate systems designed to defend airliners from shoulder-fired missiles.
An American Airlines 767 outfitted with BAE's Jeteye system flew from Forth Worth, while Grumman's Guardian system was tested on an MD-11 that took off from the Mojave airport in California. Both systems use lasers to jam the guidance systems of incoming missiles. Government contracts call for systems that cost under $1 million each and are easier to maintain and more reliable than current military versions. Congress is pushing the program, but airlines, concerned about cost and maintenance issues, are less enthusiastic. "It's a huge expenditure of resources to deal with one type of threat," says John Meanen, executive vice president for the Air Transport Association.