7 January 2004
Source: http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=January&x=20040106171221ikceinawza0.6426508&t=usinfo/wf-latest.html

06 January 2004

U.S. Moves to Counter Threat from Portable Missiles

Homeland Security Dept. funds research on technologies for commercial planes

The U.S. Homeland Security Department (DHS) has launched the first phase of its plan to protect commercial airplanes from shoulder-fired missiles known as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems or MANPADS. Following is a January 6 DHS fact sheet, which explains the action:

(begin fact sheet)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Press Release
January 6, 2004



The Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with other federal agencies, is taking an aggressive approach to counter the threat of shoulder-fired missiles to civilian commercial aviation. Homeland Security's Science and Technology division is leading the technology aspects of the effort through its Counter-MAN Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Special Program Office. This Office will help determine the viability, economic costs and effectiveness of adapting existing technology from military to commercial aviation use. Following an aggressive 18-24 month analysis, prototype demonstration and testing phase, Homeland Security will provide the Administration and Congress with a recommendation for the most viable solution to defend against shoulder-fired missiles.

Working with the Administration and Congress:

Homeland Security officials throughout the Administration have been working to counter the threat of a shoulder-fired missile attack on civil aviation. In December 2002, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council convened an interagency task force representing 21 agencies and offices including the Departments of Defense, Treasury and Homeland Security as well the Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation to develop an aggressive plan to assess and counter the MANPADS threat. The task force adopted a systematic, end-to-end countermeasures strategy, which is being aggressively implemented through multiple agency initiatives. The strategy focuses on three areas:

-- Proliferation control and threat reduction

-- Tactical measures and recovery

-- Technical countermeasures

The Administration has made significant progress with the international community on proliferation control and threat reduction. This includes numerous efforts in working with member countries of the G-8 [Group of Eight] and other international economic and industry organizations to adopt an effective global strategy that will limit proliferation and potential illicit use of MANPADS.

Homeland Security's Science and Technology Counter-MANPADS Office:

Science and Technology's Counter-MANPADS Special Program Office, which became operational in early October of 2003, does not intend to develop new technology, but rather to adapt existing technology from military to commercial aviation use. This technology adaptation will also ensure that the resulting countermeasures are consistent with airport operations and commercial air carrier logistics that include such activities as maintenance, support, and training.

The Counter-MANPADS Program has reprogrammed $2 million in FY [fiscal year] 2003, had appropriated $60 million in FY 2004, and will request an additional $60 million in FY 2005, for this development effort.

The Counter-MANPADS Program uses a robust and disciplined systems engineering approach to identify, test, evaluate, integrate and support countermeasures for commercial aircraft. The essence of the Program is to collect information from industry, select the best contractor(s) to perform systems analysis and flight tests, and to devise a plan that will permit modifications of commercial aircraft with the least disruption and out-of-service costs to the airline industry.

The Counter-MANPADS Program is working closely with the Departments of Defense, State and Treasury as well as the Federal Aviation Administration to provide Homeland Security with technical and managerial expertise, advice, assistance and detailees to support the Department's efforts to find commercial applications for military technologies.

Awarding Contracts to Counter the Threat:

In early October 2003, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology division released a solicitation announcing a "call for proposals" to address this potential threat. The solicitation is the first step in the Department's two-phase systems development and demonstration program for anti-missile devices for commercial aircraft.

-- Phase I, which will begin in January 2004, will provide a detailed design and an analysis of the economic, manufacturing and maintenance issues needed to support a system that will be effective in the commercial aviation environment. This phase will last approximately six months and will end in the selection of one to two contractors moving on to the next phase.

-- Phase II will include development of prototype demonstrations using existing military or commercial technology which will be subjected to a rigorous test and evaluation process. Phase II will last approximately 12-18 months followed by a recommendation to the Administration and Congress.

Science and Technology's Counter-MANPADS program held an Industry Day on October 15, 2003 in Washington, D.C., to describe the program's procurement process. The conference, hosted by the Science and Technology division, was attended by over 200 participants from 91 organizations. The Industry Day was an educational opportunity for potential contractors to learn more about the Department's Counter-MANPADS solicitation.

Interested contractors were asked to submit White Papers and Qualifications by late October. Candidates with the most promising White Papers were invited to present oral proposals to Department representatives in December. In January 2004, three candidates were invited to participate in agreement negotiations for the Phase I of the Counter-MANPADS Program.

Technological Challenges and Costs:

Technologies developed for military or other specialized purposes are currently incompatible with commercial air fleet operations. Although underlying military technologies will be leveraged, the systems must be adapted to meet commercial operational concepts.

One likely technology that has been identified for potential commercial use is the so-called Directed InfraRed CounterMeasure (DIRCM), an infrared device that jams missile guidance systems.

Current DIRCMs cannot be easily adapted to the U.S. commercial air fleet and must be re-engineered. The current available DIRCMs have roughly 300 hours of life before they must be repaired or refurbished. While suitable for the military or special purpose aircraft, given their maintenance and logistical infrastructure, this is not suitable for U.S. commercial air fleet use. The cost of the training, ground support equipment, supplies and spares, and logistics trail that would need to be in place at every U.S. airport would be prohibitive. Estimates put this cost at as much as $5 billion to $10 billion per year, a burden that the U.S. commercial air carrier industry cannot bear.

Military missile countermeasures, such as the Large Aircraft InfraRed CounterMeasure (LAIRCM) unit, which uses Directed InfraRed CounterMeasure (DIRCM) techniques, exist in various stages of development and initial fielding. The LAIRCM system defeats the threat missile guidance system by directing a high-intensity modulated laser beam into the missile seeker. However, these technologies are generally utilized by military and Heads-of-State aircraft that have the operations and maintenance infrastructure to support the systems.

The defense industry has performed limited evaluation of tower-mounted InfraRed CounterMeasure (IRCM) subsystems for ground-based applications as an alternative to airborne installation. IRCM commercialization requires tightly integrated systems engineering and development, as well as testing and evaluation of existing and emerging military equipment. Efforts to transition IRCM systems to civilian use face several limitations. The primary challenges are:

-- Achieving an affordable total cost of ownership;

-- Improving reliability over their military counterparts;

-- Performing less labor and time-intensive maintenance interventions;

-- Decreasing false alarm rates; and

-- Ensuring that these devices can be safely applied in operating environments of civilian aircraft.

When evaluating the deployment of IRCMs aboard civilian aircraft, it is also important to consider the effects of using these countermeasures in civilian airspace, specifically, in populated areas. In the event of a MANPADS launch, traditional military pyrotechnic countermeasures (flares) represent a major safety hazard to property and personnel. Directed countermeasures, such as an on-board laser to disrupt the MANPADS sensor and steer the missile away from the aircraft, appear to be the most promising candidates for application to civilian aircraft. However, new pyrotechnic and pyrophoric technologies may be adaptable to commercial operations, which will be analyzed in Phase I.

While it is conceivable that existing military IRCM units could be re-engineered for civilian aircraft use, many technical and operational tradeoffs have not been performed to address risks of such approach. For example, there is an established military logistics infrastructure that serves airborne countermeasure equipment, spanning functions from pilot training and routine maintenance to spare parts and depot repair. A similar infrastructure would be costly and time-consuming to replicate in the commercial airline industry.

It would be premature to integrate currently available military IRCM equipment aboard civilian aircraft due to numerous issues concerning aircraft modification and certification, maintenance and supportability, and operational employment. Even if IRCM equipment were retrofitted on only the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, safety of flight and IRCM operational issues abound because rigorous analytical processes have not been performed.


Department leadership is committed to working with the key stakeholders involved in the potential deployment of a Counter-MANPADS system.

-- Transportation Security Administration -- conduct vulnerability assessments and work with law enforcement officials to reduce risks at major airports

-- Department of State -- counter proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles

-- Federal Aviation Administration -- certification of technology for commercial use

-- Department of Defense -- provide expert advise on military technology

Science and Technology staff members have a working relationship with representatives of the safety, operations, and maintenance areas of the Federal Aviation Administration, who are key to the success of this development and demonstration program.

The Department's effort also includes significant contributions from pilots, airport operators, airlines, and ground maintenance professionals. This industry input will ensure that lifecycle costs, including acquisition, integration, operation and support will be analyzed, giving all stakeholders an understanding of the total costs associated with any potential system.

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

Source: http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=January&x=20040106151534zemogb0.7912866&t=usinfo/wf-latest.html

06 January 2004

Firms to Research Anti-Missile Devices For Commercial Aircraft

Homeland Security Dept. announces awarding contracts to three companies

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has selected three firms that will examine whether military technology can be adapted to protect commercial aircraft from shoulder-fired missiles known as MAN-Portable Air Defense Systems or MANPADS.

In a January 6 news release, DHS announced that teams led by BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines would develop a plan and test prototypes to help officials determine whether existing missile detection and countermeasures technologies can be used to protect commercial aircraft.

Phase I of the project will last an estimated six months and will involve development of a counter-MANPADS plan for civil aviation as well as an assessment of the economic, manufacturing and maintenance feasibility of operating such a system, DHS said. Phase II will include a prototype demonstration, testing and evaluation of the anti-missile plan.

Following is the text of the DHS news release:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Press Release
January 6, 2004


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology division today announced that teams led by BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines have been selected for agreement negotiations. The team will be expected to develop a plan and test prototypes to help determine whether a viable technology exists that could be deployed to address the potential threat that MAN-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) pose to commercial aircraft.

"The President and the Secretary are taking a very aggressive approach on measures to counter the potential threat of shoulder-fired missiles," said Dr. Charles McQueary, Under Secretary, Science and Technology. "These efforts are part of a larger undertaking by the Administration that includes completing security assessments and implementing reasonable responsive measures at our nation's airports as well as working with our international partners to reduce the number of weapons potentially available to terrorists."

Under the agreement, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines will each receive approximately $2 million for Phase I of the project. In this first phase, which will last approximately six months, these contractors will produce a plan to adapt military missile detection and countermeasure technologies for commercial aircraft use.

BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines were selected from among 24 candidates that submitted White Papers in response to a solicitation issued the first week of October 2003. Of that group, five contractors were invited to submit full proposals. Each of these final candidates gave a four-hour oral presentation to government representatives including officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Transportation, State and Treasury. The selected contractors each bring operational experience to this important effort through their partnerships with major air carriers.

These selections are the next step in DHS' aggressive two-phased systems development and demonstration program for the evaluation of anti-missile devices for commercial aircraft. This initiative is intended to adapt existing technology from military to commercial aviation use, rather than develop new technology. Phase I will also provide an analysis of the economic, manufacturing and maintenance issues necessary to operate counter-MANPADs systems in the civil aviation environment. Phase II will include a prototype demonstration and rigorous test and evaluation process of existing technology.

McQueary added that "the Science and Technology division is proud to support the Department's efforts in this critical area of aviation security through our Counter-MANPADS Special Program Office. We look forward to working with BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and United Airlines to determine if in fact there is a viable and effective technology we could deploy to protect commercial aircraft."

The goal of the Counter-MANPADS Special Program Office is to manage Homeland Security's development and demonstration efforts for commercial air protection in liaison with the private sector. The Office is working closely with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to provide Homeland Security with advice, assistance and detailees to support the Department's efforts to find commercial applications for military technologies.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology division serves as the primary research and development arm of the Department, utilizing our nation's scientific and technological resources to provide federal, state and local officials with the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)