In light of missile attacks against aircraft in various recent armed conflicts around the world, the international courier giant FedEx has asked the Federal Aviation Authority for permission to install missile defense systems on its aircraft.

A statement issued by FedEx said the request came after a number of cases in recent years in which missiles were fired at civilian planes near armed conflicts around the world, including FedEx planes, and fears that a round might damage an aircraft.

"In a number of incidents around the world, civilian aircraft have been fired upon by human-operated firing systems. This has led several companies to design and adapt various laser-based missile defense systems, which can be installed on civilian aircraft to protect these aircraft from heat-seeking missiles," FedEx said in a statement.

According to the announcement, the defense system that FedEx is requesting to install in its aircraft is based around an infrared laser that will deflect heat-seeking missiles. The Federal Aviation Authority will allow the public 45 days to send in comments on the matter before deciding whether or not to approve the installation.

According to FAA regulations, any permit to install laser-based systems requires precautions to prevent them damaging people or property both on the ground and in the air.

FedEx's concern is due to a number of cases in which in aircraft were accidentally struck by missile fire. In 2003, ground-to-air fire hit the wing of an Airbus plane operating on behalf of the DHL courier company that took off from Baghdad in Iraq. The plane returned to the airport, and landed safely.