Three simulation studies are soon to test Europe’s future anti-terror arsenal, with researchers using new technology to detect and handle on-board terror threats. Halfway through the four-year, €35.8 million ($46 million) Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) programme, the project has a user club of more than 100 aviation security and operational experts.
Sagem’s Daniel Gaultier, director of SAFEE, says the project is addressing historical evidence that would-be terrorists can get through several airport checks before boarding an aircraft. “There is therefore a need to secure the aircraft itself as the last barrier of attack,” Gaultier says. The project is developing on-board threat detection systems with information fed back securely by flightcrew to the ground to allow effective decision-making in the event of, at worst, a suicide hijack or attempted bombing.
SAFEE systems are to be validated using simulator tools at Toulouse, Hamburg and Amsterdam, and include:
A chip-based system will also match passengers to luggage while biometric camera surveillance at check-in will verify passenger identity, while an electronic nose will check for traces of explosives before boarding. A secure cockpit biometric system will also recognise authorised crew by fingerprint and check whether they are opening it under duress.
Gaultier says SAFEE anticipates the future use of the planned air traffic information network, the European Regional Renegade Information Dissemination System being developed by Eurocontrol, to assess the need to intercept airliners with fighters acting on hijack concerns, triggered in most cases by communication loss.