“In recent years, in several incidents overseas, civilian aircraft have been targeted by man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS),” the FAA document states. “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 heat-seeking missiles” on the Airbus A321-200.
The FAA document says FedEx began the government approval process for the A321-200 modification in 2019, even though the company does not yet own such planes. FedEx did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The FAA states that any approval must include “means that prevent inadvertent activation of the ground system, including during aircraft maintenance and ground handling” because laser accidents “can lead to eye and skin lesions”.