1/16/2007 - LOS ANGELES, CA -- An MD-10 aircraft in
commercial revenue service with the Northrop Grumman
Corporation (NYSE:NOC) Guardian(tm) system
installation departed Los Angeles International
Airport today, marking the beginning of the
operational test and evaluation portion of the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Counter-Man
Portable Air Defense Systems (C-MANPADS) program.
As part of Phase III of the DHS-sponsored program, a
Northrop Grumman-led industry team will complete
production of Guardian(tm) missile defense systems for
installation on MD-10 aircraft. During the test and
evaluation effort, which concludes in March 2008, nine
MD-10 aircraft equipped with the Guardian(tm) system
will be in continual revenue service operation.
The Guardian(tm) system is a defensive aid utilizing
proven military technology to defend against the
threat posed by anti-aircraft, shoulder-fired
missiles. Once launched, the missile is detected by
the Guardian(tm) system, which then directs a
non-visible, eye-safe laser to the seeker head of the
incoming missile, disrupting its guidance signals.
"This milestone marks an important event for Northrop
Grumman and the aviation industry. For the first time,
we will be able to collect valuable logistics data
while operating Guardian(tm) on aircraft in routine
commercial service," said Robert L. DelBoca, vice
president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's
Defensive Systems Division. "We stand ready to protect
America's flying public with the proven technology
that we supply to our warfighters worldwide in
To date, Northrop Grumman has completed a 16-month
flight test program in commercial test operational
environments that included the use of a ground-based
electronic missile surrogate to simulate the launch of
a shoulder-fired missile toward aircraft during
takeoff and landing. The tests were performed on an
MD-11, an MD-10 and a B-747 aircraft. In each test,
the Guardian(tm) system functioned as designed,
automatically detecting the simulated launch and mock
missile. Had the threats been real, an invisible laser
beam safe to humans would have disrupted the missile
guidance system and protected the aircraft.
The company's Guardian(tm) system makes use of
multi-band laser and other technologies from the
company's military directional infrared
countermeasures system, the only such protection
system currently in production for the U.S. military
and several allied nations.
Northrop Grumman's Guardian(tm) system was developed
as part of the Department of Homeland Security's
initiative aimed at protecting commercial aircraft
from attack by ground-based, shoulder-fired missiles.
The DHS program is focused on demonstrating the
viability, economics and effectiveness of adapting
existing military technology to protect commercial
aircraft from this terrorist threat.
Source: Northrop Grumman Press Release