The latest technology to be incorporated on commercial planes to fight potential terrorist threats is an anti missile system.

On Tuesday an MD-10 cargo plane owned by Fed-Ex took off from Los Angeles International airport, and flew into the record books as being the fist commercial aircraft to be fitted with this defense system.

The equipment is carried in a small pod attached to the fuselage. Developed by Northrop Grumman the Guardian system is eventually destined to find its way into passenger planes.

The technology used is an offshoot of systems developed for the defense department. The primary purpose is to detect and disrupt shoulder launched missiles during take off and landing. If a missile launce is detected the system uses a laser to lock onto the missile and disrupt the guidance systems.

This current phase of testing is designated to run until April of 2008. In total 9 planes will take part in the testing.

You can find the CNN report here.

Simon Barrett

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