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Air Defense Systems for Commercial Aircraft enters US$ 90 Million Phase II

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 26 August 2004

Northrop Grumman Corporation and BAE Systems have been selected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Phase II of its Counter-Man Portable Air Defense Systems (Counter-MANPADS) program, which is designed to protect commercial aircraft from attack by ground-based, infrared guided, shoulder-fired missiles.

The missiles, commonly called MANPADS, have been used to down civilian airliners and increasingly have become regarded as a potential terrorist tool since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

During the Phase II contract, which is valued at $45 million, Northrop Grumman will complete the design, fabrication, installation, flight testing and certification of prototype counter-MANPADS systems for two commercial aircraft: the Boeing 747 and the MD-11. For the DHS program, Northrop Grumman is adapting its directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system, an anti-missile system currently in production and deployed on a variety of military aircraft around the world.

Also under a $45 million DHS award, BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) in Nashua, N.H., will develop, test and evaluate a prototype system using existing military and commercial technology.

Phase II is expected to last 18 months, followed by a DHS recommendation to the Administration and Congress.

BAE Systems is extremely pleased be part of Phase II of the Counter-MANPADS program. We have put together the right team, including leaders in the commercial aviation industry, to produce a state-of-the-art IR missile protection system that leverages our proven military technology and fits seamlessly into the commercial airline industry, said Don Donovan, president of BAE Systems Electronic Warfare/Electronic Protection line of business.

"Northrop Grumman is committed to supporting the Department's fight against low-altitude threats," said David Zolet, vice president of Homeland Security for Northrop Grumman Corporation. "This program is an integral first step in a layered defense for our national airspace."

Northrop Grumman is supported by two key industry partners on its counter-MANPADS team: Federal Express and Northwest Airlines. Federal Express will provide engineering services for installation, and aircraft modification and certification. Northwest Airlines will provide engineering and technical services to develop a commercially viable equipment set suitable for operation within commercial airframes.

BAE Systems team includes key partners Honeywell Aerospace, leading the operations and support elements; Sargent Fletcher, designing the pod which houses the missile warning and countermeasures components; and American Airlines, providing critical stakeholder perspective to ensure commercial compatibility.

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