Looks like FedEx won’t be adding lasers to its airplanes

It seems like the FAA could have made a whoopsie. Keep in mind when the US aviation authority suggested that FedEx may presumably doubtlessly possibly be ready to stick a laser onto its cargo planes to knock missiles out of the sky? Yeah, no: “additional inner research is important,” the FAA told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that the proposal “isn’t transferring ahead presently.”

Earlier than you say that after all the FAA wasn’t going to let a non-public firm mount a frickin’ laser beam (sorry, old reference) to their airplanes, it is best to know that we’re not precisely speaking in regards to the type of high-energy stable state lasers that may actually blast issues until they catch fireplace and explode — although the US army has definitely examined these kinds of lasers aboard massive plane, too.

No, FedEx’s proposal was for an “Infrared Laser Countermeasure System,” a flowery identify for what’s successfully a high-power laser pointer (with a classy focusing on system) that blinds incoming missiles earlier than they hit. As The Drive explains, the US has been exploring methods to shield airliners from missile strikes for some time now, notably given the proliferation of low-cost shoulder launched surface-to-air missile techniques, and people kinds of laser techniques seemed to be an efficient however costly choice.

FedEx even examined out one of many infrared selection, Northrop Grumman’s “Guardian” pods, in 2006. Right here’s a close-up of a Northrop Grumman infrared laser pod:


Northrop Grumman’s web site claims these techniques “shield greater than 1,500 plane, together with massive and small fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tilt-rotor platforms.”

Picture: Northrop Grumman

But it surely doesn’t appear like any US business airplanes have put in the tech but; the FAA’s proposal means that FedEx’s addition of a laser would have been “novel or distinctive.”

It’s not clear whose system FedEx hoped to connect to its planes when it submitted its proposal in October 2019, why the FAA determined it ought to transfer ahead this month, or why the FAA determined to all of a sudden cease it now — but it surely does appear like your FedEx packages won’t be protected by laser anytime quickly.

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