Commercial aircraft tests on-board missile-defense system

An on-board laser-based defense system tested for commercial aircraft at Fort Worth Alliance Airport in 2005 has made its first cross-country flight.

An American Airlines 767-200s equipped with the JETEYE system flew from New York John F. Kennedy Airport to Los Angeles Airport on Wednesday.

BAE Systems, which developed JETEYE, announced the completion of the first flight.

In all, three American Airlines 767-200s equipped with the JETEYE system will fly between New York and Los Angeles and New York and San Francisco, American officials said.

The other two aircraft will be ready to start testing later this summer and early fall. The tests run through March 2009.

Integrated into the planes' bellies are electronic sensors that watch for missiles being fired from below. A dime-sized laser emitter mounted on a small turret can then rotate to a target and, if necessary, send out an invisible, infrared burst to disorient a missile's guidance system.

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