Raytheon, for example, said it has a developed a ground-based system that can be set up around an airport to detect and deter missiles aimed at aircraft. The company argues that its system, called "Vigilant Eagle," would be cheaper than putting a system on every plane.
The largest pilots' union doesn't think that the struggling airline industry should be required to pay for an expensive technology.
"If the federal government wants this thing, the government should pay for this thing," said Bob Hesselbein, chairman of the national security committee for the Air Line Pilots Association.
On the Net:
Homeland Security Department: http://www.dhs.gov
BAE Systems: http://www.baesystems.com
Northrop Grumman: http://www.northropgrumman.com
It could be 20 years before every U.S. passenger airplane is outfitted with a system to protect it from small portable missiles.
The defense system is being designed and tested by BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman.
Adapted from military technology, Guardian is designed to detect a missile launch and then direct a laser to the seeker system on the head of the missile and disrupt its guidance signals.