BAE Systems gets funding for anti-missile testing

Washington DC
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Funding to support the test of a missile defense system developed by BAE Systems on three American Airlines Boeing 767s is now in place after the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded BAE $29 million for the research.

Previously, American said the tests are scheduled to start in the spring.

The $29 million contract is for the third-phase of DHS’s research on counter man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

American’s aircraft slated for use in the tests fly mostly long-haul routes. Last month, American said the exercise will not entail testing laser beams, but will focus on what effect the system - mounted on the underside of the plane’s fuselage - has on the aircraft’s operations.

BAE has said the testing will probably continue through the end of the year. In December BAE said it had started procurement of the materials necessary for system installation, and once the latest contract was firmed up it would use the money to support installing the systems on American planes.

DHS selected BAE Systems in 2004 to adapt its military countermeasures technology for use in systems to protect commercial aircraft against shoulder-fired missiles.