NEWS

New Israeli Device Said to Prevent 9-11 Type Hijackings

By Matthew Harwood

Planes flying into Israeli airports starting next year will be required to have a new device that  officials claim can distinguish between a classic hijacking situation and an al-Qaeda style suicide attack.

The specifics of the new Security Code System (SCS), a keypad the size of a credit card, are sensitive, writes Mark Rutherford for CNet's Newsblog.

The company that developed the SCS, Elbit Systems, declined to go into technological and procedural detail. But judging by the keypad, it's possible that the pilot would be required to enter a numerical code. There is also something that looks like a microphone suggesting voice recognition, according to a Reuters reporter allowed in for a peek at the Israeli Transportation Ministry.

Whatever the test, pilots who flunk it or send a secret Mayday will be ordered to turn back. If they ignore the warning, they and everyone on board become fair game, which means worst case scenario.

Israel's transportation security chief spoke with Reuters and said the SCS cannot be bluffed. The device, he says, "provides a higher level of confidence that the aircraft is being controlled by the right people, which are a huge asset in terms of avoiding unnecessary security alerts."

According to the original Reuters report, Israel will begin a trial run next month of the SCS with five airlines from the United States, Europe, and Africa.

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