06 January 2004
Firms to Research Anti-Missile Devices For Commercial Aircraft
Homeland Security Dept. announces awarding contracts to three companies
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has selected three
firms that will examine whether military technology can be adapted
to protect commercial aircraft from shoulder-fired missiles known
as MAN-Portable Air Defense Systems or MANPADS.
In a January 6 news release, DHS announced that teams led by BAE
Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines would develop a plan
and test prototypes to help officials determine whether existing
missile detection and countermeasures technologies can be used
to protect commercial aircraft.
Phase I of the project will last an estimated six months and will
involve development of a counter-MANPADS plan for civil aviation
as well as an assessment of the economic, manufacturing and maintenance
feasibility of operating such a system, DHS said. Phase II will
include a prototype demonstration, testing and evaluation of the
Following is the text of the DHS news release:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
January 6, 2004
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SELECTS CONTRACTORS FOR ANTI-MISSILE
DEVICES TO PROTECT COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's
Science and Technology division today announced that teams led
by BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines have been
selected for agreement negotiations. The team will be expected
to develop a plan and test prototypes to help determine whether
a viable technology exists that could be deployed to address the
potential threat that MAN-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS)
pose to commercial aircraft.
"The President and the Secretary are taking a very aggressive
approach on measures to counter the potential threat of shoulder-fired
missiles," said Dr. Charles McQueary, Under Secretary, Science
and Technology. "These efforts are part of a larger undertaking
by the Administration that includes completing security assessments
and implementing reasonable responsive measures at our nation's
airports as well as working with our international partners to
reduce the number of weapons potentially available to terrorists."
Under the agreement, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United
Airlines will each receive approximately $2 million for Phase I
of the project. In this first phase, which will last approximately
six months, these contractors will produce a plan to adapt military
missile detection and countermeasure technologies for commercial
BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines were selected
from among 24 candidates that submitted White Papers in response
to a solicitation issued the first week of October 2003. Of that
group, five contractors were invited to submit full proposals.
Each of these final candidates gave a four-hour oral presentation
to government representatives including officials from the Departments
of Homeland Security, Defense, Transportation, State and Treasury.
The selected contractors each bring operational experience to this
important effort through their partnerships with major air carriers.
These selections are the next step in DHS' aggressive two-phased
systems development and demonstration program for the evaluation
of anti-missile devices for commercial aircraft. This initiative
is intended to adapt existing technology from military to commercial
aviation use, rather than develop new technology. Phase I will
also provide an analysis of the economic, manufacturing and maintenance
issues necessary to operate counter-MANPADs systems in the civil
aviation environment. Phase II will include a prototype demonstration
and rigorous test and evaluation process of existing technology.
McQueary added that "the Science and Technology division
is proud to support the Department's efforts in this critical area
of aviation security through our Counter-MANPADS Special Program
Office. We look forward to working with BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman
and United Airlines to determine if in fact there is a viable and
effective technology we could deploy to protect commercial aircraft."
The goal of the Counter-MANPADS Special Program Office is to manage
Homeland Security's development and demonstration efforts for commercial
air protection in liaison with the private sector. The Office is
working closely with the Department of Defense and other federal
agencies to provide Homeland Security with advice, assistance and
detailees to support the Department's efforts to find commercial
applications for military technologies.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology
division serves as the primary research and development arm of
the Department, utilizing our nation's scientific and technological
resources to provide federal, state and local officials with the
technology and capabilities to protect the homeland.