A bomb-proof lining made from multiple layers of fabrics and composites is tested to prove it could contain the force of an explosion in the luggage hold of an aircraft. Matthew Stock reports.
This is what happens when a bomb goes off inside the luggage hold of a normal passenger jet. Authorities believe it was a blast like this which downed a Russian aircraft over Egypt in October, killing all 224 people on board. A team of international scientists are working on a device that could mitigate the effect of such an explosion. They've developed the Fly-Bag - a bomb-proof lining made from layers of fabrics and composites that have high strength and impact, and heat resistance. In field-tests, an explosive device was placed in a suitcase and then zipped up inside the Fly-Bag. When detonated, the bag expands and contracts but does not tear. The structural integrity of the fuselage is maintained. The Fly-Bag could be a fail-safe in the event an explosive device is smuggled aboard an aircraft, according to a leading British security consultant. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MATTHEW FINN, SECURITY CONSULTANT AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF AUGMENTIQ, SAYING: "I think it has the capacity to transform how we look at hold baggage. We've spent a lot of time thinking about the reconciliation of passengers and their bags; since 1988, since the Lockerbie Disaster, that's been a big focus of the airline industry. What the Fly-Bag does is look to those situations where there may be the device on board and how do we contain that. I think it's a really interesting development and I'd like to see it deployed more widely." The Fly-Bag is being developed by Blastech, a spin out company from the University of Sheffield, as well as partners from across Europe.