It is true that air transport is considered to be the safest form of transportation, but due to the imminent dangers of flights, aviation professionals are always on high alert. Recently, an interesting news has made the headlines, which says that FedEx, which is a global logistics and cargo company, has submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to upgrade its fleet of A321-200 aircraft with a laser-based anti-missile system. The decision was spontaneous and has elicited certain questions: why did FedEx think to install this technology into its fleet? Are they really facing a missile threat that compelled them to take this decision? The video given below sheds light on the reason in more detail:
However, as per the research conducted by the RAND Institute, missile technology has caused approximately 60 civil airplane crashes since 1975. It has resulted in the deaths of over 1000 people. The technology that they used to debunk the planes is called “MANPADS”. There are some airspaces that are considered active military operational areas and there are a lot of cases when the ground military hubs in those areas mistakenly shot the civil airplanes in search of the intercepting or dubious aircraft. This might have compelled FedEx to take such a decision.
Moreover, the video shows that back in the 2000s, 10 FedEx cargo airplanes were equipped with this anti-missile technology and continued their operations on this technology for about 12 months, but right after that, they stopped using this technology. However, after 2003, the US security branch collaborated with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, the two big contractors for defense technology, to start manufacturing the anti-missile systems for planes. According to the BAE system, their “JETEYE” technology is incorporated with the computers which are distributed on different parts of the plane.
On the other hand, “Guardian” technology was being deployed by Northrop Grumman, which accumulated a pod system that is integrated at the bottom of the fuselage with the capability to counter the incoming missile through laser technology by first detecting it and then confusing it. In this way, the missile changes its track and the aircraft remains safe.
Coupled with this, in 2014, the FAA instructed all US airlines to cancel their flights to Israel because of the missile strike near an airport in Tel Aviv. This has not only incurred a great loss for the airlines from the economic perspective but also made them suffer in the long term due to the large share of revenue lost. On the other hand, the Israeli airline El Al Airlines continued to conduct its daily flights to and from Israel as they have already installed anti-missile systems.
Hence, it is very necessary in today’s times to equip aircraft with this technology to ensure the safety of passengers as well as cargo.