MEMPHIS, Tennessee: FedEx is seeking permission to arm its cargo planes with defensive systems to thwart attacks by heat-seeking missiles.
In a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, FedEx requested permission to add laser missile-defense systems.
During a departure from Baghdad, Iraq in 2003, a surface-to-air missile struck the wing of an Airbus A330 operating for DHL. The crew returned to the airport unharmed.
Just recently, the U.S. temporarily grounded planes after a North Korean missile launch.
"In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems," the FAA document says. "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."
According to FAA procedures, public comments on the FedEx request will be ongoing for 45 days before a decision on the FedEx request is made.