Cassidian protects aircraft passengers against missile attacks

Munich/Paris19 June 2013

  • A new protection concept for air transport in crisis areas, which can be certified for civil aircraft
  • Modification of a defence system allows civil air traffic infrastructure to be used for military purposes for the first time
Cassidian’s AMPS protects civil business jets against missile attacks. (c) Cassidian Cassidian’s AMPS protects civil business jets against missile attacks. (c) Cassidian

Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS, has developed an intelligent system for the protection of civil aircraft against attacks by missiles of the MANPADS type (Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems), which will allow aircraft to fly over crisis areas, to take off and land on civil airports and also to fly in civil airspace.

As reported by the company, following extensive investigations, the aviation authorities EASA and LBA have now given a positive answer to a preliminary query submitted by Cassidian, which means that the system now can be integrated into aircraft of the size of business jets, outside of scheduled traffic. This particularly concerns aircraft operators which offer air transport to crisis areas on behalf of governments or aid organisations and which are particularly exposed to attacks by light IR-guided missiles, the so-called MANPADS.

Cassidian’s solution features a modified version of its military missile defence system AMPS (Airborne Missile Protection System), which detects the UV radiation of approaching missiles and launches flares so as to divert the missile’s seeker head. The system only requires minor modifications to the aircraft’s architecture and also allows pyrotechnic flares to be taken along, while the aircraft can preserve its civilian status. This means that AMPS, which previously was reserved to military customers only, will now also be available to all civil aircraft operators, which want to protect their crews and passengers in crisis areas against attacks by MANPADS.

Generally, the use of civil airports and airspaces by aircraft equipped with military systems is very much restricted, which results in such aircraft operators’ operational flexibility being heavily limited as the civil infrastructure may not be used.

AMPS offers an extremely low false alarm rate and maximum warning time. On board almost 200 military helicopters and aircraft, the system has proved to provide excellent protection against the widespread danger by IR-guided missiles. It is based on the missile warning sensor MILDS AN/AAR-60 (Missile Launch Detection System) and on MILDS F AN/AAR 60 (V), a special variant for jet aircraft. With several thousand MILDS sensors in operational use, Cassidian is the market leader in this segment outside the USA.

Cassidian cooperates with the German Dresden-based aircraft equipment provider EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW, to elaborate a design and certification study for the integration of AMPS into wide-body aircraft to be able in the future to offer the operators of large aircraft types a protection concept that can be certified for civil aircraft. EFW combines various aircraft and technology activities in a single company: development and production of lightweight components for the structure and interior of all Airbus models, conversion of passenger aircraft into cargo aircraft, maintenance and repair services for all aircraft of the overall Airbus family as well as engineering services in connection with certification and approval. As a centre of excellence for freighter aircraft, EADS EFW is forging ahead with the further development of Airbus’ freighter family. The company generates revenues of more than 200 million euros with a workforce of about 1,100 employees (in 2012).


Cassidian, the defence division of EADS, is a worldwide leader in defence and security solutions. The company delivers advanced defence systems along the whole action chain from sensors through command & control systems to combat aircraft and unmanned air systems. In the area of security, Cassidian provides customers worldwide with border surveillance systems, cyber security solutions and secure communications. In 2012, Cassidian – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.7 billion.

CASSIDIAN – Defending World Security


Lothar Belz
Head of Technology / Trade Press
Airbus Defence and Space
Tel.: +49 7 31 3 92 36 81
Fax: +49 7 31 3 92 37 55


Press Release




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