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Anti-hijack software under development

BERLIN: Some 30 European businesses and research institutes are working to create software that would make it possible from a distance to regain control of an aircraft from hijackers, according to the German news magazine.

The system "which could only be controlled from the ground would conduct the aircraft posing a problem to the nearest airport whether it liked it or not," according to extracts from next Monday's Der Spiegel released yesterday.

"A hijacker would have no chance of reaching his goal," it said.

The project costs $45 million (BD17m), of which the European Commission is contributing 19.5 million, and involves aircraft maker Airbus, electronics giant Siemens and the Technical University of Munich.

The first results should be presented in Britain in October, the magazine said.

The system would be designed in such a way that even a computer hacker on board could not get round it.

If the software should see the light of day it would put an end to a debate in Germany over whether the air force should shoot down a hijacked commercial airliner if the hijackers threatened to use it as a weapon, as in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.



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