Image: Bill Abbott

FedEx is worried about its cargo planes being shot down by missiles and has taken the first steps toward equipping them with a special countermeasure system.

As noted in a letter published on the official Federal Register, the delivery giant is seeking permission from federal regulators to install a missile-defense system in its Airbus Model A321-200 airplanes, one that would utilize lasers to fool heat-seeking missiles. FedEx’s interest was prompted by several incidents over the past years in which civilian aircraft were targeted by portable air defense systems.

“On October 16, 2019, FedEx applied for a supplemental type certificate to install a laser-based missile-defense system, which directs infrared laser energy toward heatseeking missiles, on the Airbus Model A321-200 airplane,” a notice published at the Federal Register reads.

“This airplane, which is a derivative of the Airbus Model A321 series airplanes currently approved under Type Certificate No. A28NM, is a twin-engine, transport-category jet with allowable seating for 220 passengers, and a maximum takeoff weight of 89,000 pounds.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has responded to FedEx’s request with a handful of special conditions due to the potential dangers posed by infrared laser energy, which include eye and skin damage in humans. Infrared laser energy could also affect a flight crew’s ability to control the plane, other aircraft, and fuel trucks and airport equipment, according to the FAA.

Source: Federal Register (via NBC News)

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14 Comments

  1. I didn’t know Fred Smith had stepped down…….

    [IMG]https://townsquare.media/site/442/files/2012/05/Shark-Evil-Split.jpg?w=980&q=75[/IMG]

  2. BTW, FedEx does not own or operate any A321 freighters nor do they have an factory new or conversions on order…..

  3. [QUOTE=”Paul_Johnson, post: 46934, member: 2″]
    BTW, FedEx does not own or operate any A321 freighters nor do they have an factory new or conversions on order…..
    [/QUOTE]

    “FedEx says it wants to install the system in the Airbus A321-200 airplane, a model it does not yet fly as part of its fleet of more than 650 aircraft. The company did not respond to NBC News requests for comment.”

  4. [QUOTE=”DrezKill, post: 46973, member: 230″]
    Who the f*ck is targeting FedEx cargo planes? Do pirates have missile systems?
    [/QUOTE]

    Maybe they are concerned about some sort of Chinese blockade of Taiwan?

    I mean, since 2000, 8 civilian airliners have been shot down, the most famous of which are Malaysian Airways Flight 17 over Ukraine and Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 after leaving Teheran.

    Before that we have to go back to the USS Vincennes incident in 1988 or that Korean Airlines 747 shot down by the Soviets in 1983 to find more high profile ones. There have been more low profile ones as noted in [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airliner_shootdown_incidents’]this Wikipedia list[/URL], but these four are the big ones that come to mind.

    So it is not like it is unheard of for civilian aircraft to be fired upon, but it doesn’t seem particularly common…

  5. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 46976, member: 203″]
    Maybe they are concerned about some sort of Chinese blockade of Taiwan?

    I mean, since 2000, 8 civilian airliners have been shot down, the most famous of which are Malaysian Airways Flight 17 over Ukraine and Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 after leaving Teheran.

    Before that we have to go back to the USS Vincennes incident in 1988 or that Korean Airlines 747 shot down by the Soviets in 1983 to find more high profile ones. There have been more low profile ones as noted in [URL=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airliner_shootdown_incidents’]this Wikipedia list[/URL], but these four are the big ones that come to mind.

    So it is not like it is unheard of for civilian aircraft to be fired upon, but it doesn’t seem particularly common…
    [/QUOTE]
    Sh1t dude, those numbers are way too high for me. Civilian flights being shot down, good gawd. 8 since 2000 alone, what the actual f*ck?!

    F*ck it, every civilian aircraft should be armed to the teeth. We gotta [I]Mad Max[/I] up the skies. I wanna see heavy offensive and defensive equipment or I’m not stepping foot onto another plane. And why do I still live in a time period when vehicles don’t have energy shields?!

  6. [QUOTE=”DrezKill, post: 46978, member: 230″]
    Sh1t dude, those numbers are way too high for me. Civilian flights being shot down, good gawd. 8 since 2000 alone, what the actual f*ck?!

    F*ck it, every civilian aircraft should be armed to the teeth. We gotta [I]Max Max[/I] up the skies. I wanna see heavy offensive and defensive equipment or I’m not stepping foot onto another plane. And why do I still live in a time period when vehicles don’t have energy shields?!
    [/QUOTE]

    Well, to put it in perspective, there are about 40 million flights per year worldwide (temporarily lower due to teh pandemic). Over 22 years that is ~880 million flights.

    8 of those were shot down.

    That’s 0.000000009%.

    Or one in 110million.

    Don’t get me wrong, even one is an absolute tragedy, and people should be held responsible after a fuckup of those proportions. It’s an absolute travesty that we failed to court-martial Captain Will Rogers III, who was in command of the Vincennes during the incident, and was well known by his peers to be pointlessly aggressive and reckless in his command.

    But lets just say that as problems go, we have many much more frequently occurring ones that we should probably prioritize first..

  7. [QUOTE=”DrezKill, post: 46978, member: 230″]
    Sh1t dude, those numbers are way too high for me. Civilian flights being shot down, good gawd. 8 since 2000 alone, what the actual f*ck?!

    F*ck it, every civilian aircraft should be armed to the teeth. We gotta [I]Mad Max[/I] up the skies. I wanna see heavy offensive and defensive equipment or I’m not stepping foot onto another plane. And why do I still live in a time period when vehicles don’t have energy shields?!
    [/QUOTE]
    El Al planes have carried counter measures for years because of their neighbors.

  8. I want a laser based missile/Drone defense system on my house. If Fedex can get them on planes not even in their fleet I should be able to get one on my house that the bank I mean I own.

  9. [QUOTE=”Denpepe, post: 46991, member: 284″]
    If I was them I would increase security for my train transports
    [MEDIA=youtube]w8PXI7RXIuU[/MEDIA]
    [/QUOTE]

    FedEx doesn’t run their own trains. In this case it would be up to Union Pacific the operator of the railway.

    Notably, Union Pacific already has their own police force that rides along on select trains, and has jurisdiction wherever they have track, but they still haven’t been able to stop this.

    Organized crime will always find a weakness in a system and exploit it. Then we rush to patch that weakness up, and they find another one.

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