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DHS Seeks Industry Proposals for Anti-Missile Devices to Protect Commercial Aircraft

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 18, 2003

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology division released on September 15, 2003 a pre-solicitation announcing a program to address the potential threat of MAN-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) to commercial aircraft.  The notice, which is available at http://www.fedbizops.gov outlines the Department’s technological strategy for commercial air protection and announces a briefing to industry on the subject.

The pre-solicitation is the first step in DHS' two-phase systems development and demonstration program for anti-missile devices for commercial aircraft.  Phase I will provide an analysis of the economic, manufacturing and maintenance issues needed to support a system that will be effective in the commercial aviation environment.  Phase II will include development of prototypes using existing technology which will be subjected to a rigorous test and evaluation process.  This initiative is not intended to develop new technology, but rather to re-engineer existing technology from military to commercial aviation use.

"We are pleased to release this pre-solicitation to industry to address this potential threat against commercial aviation," said Dr. Charles McQueary, Under Secretary, Science and Technology.  "We look forward to receiving responses and furthering Science and Technology's partnership with the private sector in pursuit of solutions to protect the homeland."

The Department expects to issue a formal solicitation next week, and will discuss this notice and overall strategy at a Briefing to Industry which will be held in the Washington, D.C. area the week of October 6, 2003.  Through this strategy, the Department will investigate aircraft-based devices such as infrared countermeasures to provide protections against MANPADS.

The Science and Technology division is supporting the Department's efforts on MANPADS through the Counter-MANPADS Special Program Office. The goal of this office is to manage DHS' development and demonstration efforts for commercial air protection as well as to liaison with the private sector. This office has Department of Defense (DoD) detailees on staff who are using their knowledge and expertise in this area to provide advice and assistance to DHS in finding commercial applications for military technologies. The office is also working closely with the DoD to coordinate efforts between the agencies.

The U.S. Department 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.