Although not backed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security research-and-development fund, at least four other antimissile systems are vying to protect civil aircraft from the Manpad threat: L-3 Avisys of the U.S., and Israeli groups Elisra, ELTA/IMI and Elop.
Paris Air Show » June 15, 2005
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is about to oversee tests of antimissile airliner protection equipment on board an American Airlines Boeing 767. By year-end, three aircraft are to be used for testing prototype equipment under development by Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as officials seek to resolve whether the systems can be sufficiently effective and affordable for mass deployment on civil airliners.
To many, the notion that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will one day fly alongside passenger airliners and other aircraft, in fair weather and foul, still seems like science fiction. Yet civil aviation authorities in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and elsewhere are now finalizing rules under which these operations will take place, possibly as soon as 2010.
If anyone can make UAVs sexy, it must be the Italians. For 30 years, Galileo Avionica’s Meteor division has been building and selling the sleek, jet-powered Mirach target drone. Now the company is turning the drone into a high-subsonic, multi-purpose reconnaissance vehicle that will fly for the first time later this year.
Airbus believes it is close to correcting a fuel management software glitch that contributed to a Virgin Atlantic Airways A340-600 diversion earlier this year. In related work, Airbus also has begun a fleet-wide retrofit program that should eliminate false fuel system fault messages.
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