Expert Suggests New Ways to Secure Cockpits, Cargo Holds; |
Says Air Carriers Slow to Adopt Some Changes.
August 28, 2002
New technology is making it easier to protect airline passengers from terrorist attacks in the wake of last year’s September 11 tragedy, but security expert Bob Muller says the nation’s commercial air carriers have been slow to adopt some of the changes.
To fully secure the nation's skies, both cockpit and cargo areas of the aircraft need to be secured from intrusion and explosion, Muller says. All baggage would have to be checked into the cargo hold after being inspected to a threat level below that which an aircraft could withstand.
Muller's company, Fenrir Industries, Inc., is uniquely positioned to solve both and has developed methods to bombproof aircraft cargo holds and strengthen cockpit doors. The system improves security and makes terminal-side bomb detection much easier and much less costly.
“Working with the reincarnated PanAm Airways in 1995, I designed a system of bomb-proofing aircraft cargo holds from explosive threats far in excess of the current ability to detect explosives in the terminal-based screening," said Muller, president and founder Fenrir Industries, which manufactures law enforcement and public safety equipment.
"A friend of mine lost his brother in PanAm 103, and when I learned about armor, it was a curiosity I had to satisfy. Could I bombproof an airplane? I can."
The September 11th hijackers were successful in part because of their threat of having a bomb on board. The threat was effective because the terminal-based screening/security was (and is) perceived to be penetrable. If the aircraft were outfitted to augment security, the threat would have been hollow.
By enabling an aircraft to keep flying even after an internal explosion far in excess of amounts detectable by the airport's bomb-sniffing machines, the detection devices won't have to be as sensitive and therefore as expensive. Conversely, by requiring a greater amount of explosive to affect the aircraft, terminal detection becomes much, much easier.
"It is simply easier to detect a large amount of explosive such as Semtex than a lesser amount," says Muller. "Anything capable of defeating our protection level won't be able to get past the terminal screen."
And the effect, if any, the lightweight system has on the balance sheet of cost-conscious airlines will be outweighed by no lost aircraft, greater ridership the increased safety will create, and lower airport fees made possible by less expensive terminal side security.
Muller also notes that current modifications planned for cockpit doors make them stronger, but easier to breach. He should know. He started Fenrir Industries in 1992 after designing a lightweight battering ram powered by an explosive and capable of instantly placing several tons of force onto a locked door. Prior to that Muller, a mechanical engineer from Georgia Tech, had a decade's prior experience on some of this nation's most high-technology military equipment, including the President's "Nuclear Football."
“I have been in touch with the FAA regarding the adopted specifications and have offered several suggestions, with no expectation of benefit to Fenrir,” he said.
Muller and Fenrir Industries also are readying the production technology for a new soft armor material for law enforcement, public safety, fire and military personnel worldwide that stops repeated shots at close range from high-powered rifles
“We’re also developing a new soft armor material that will stop high-powered rifle rounds such as those from the AK-47's used in the now infamous North Hollywood Bank of America shootout,” said Muller.
Currently, no woven armor stops these deadly military rounds. Fenrir's material stops repeated shots from close range at the same weight and comfort that presently only affords handgun protection.
Among the other products Fenrir markets are inert or static rams, one of which was used by federal agents in Miami to return Cuban-born Elian Gonzalez to his father.
Fenrir also markets lightweight tactical shields that stow under cruiser seats, armored curtains to protect government leaders, diplomats and corporate executives from terrorist gunfire, a unique trailer to train officers on safe forced entry, and a gun lock that prevents even a loaded weapon from firing.
Fenrir is undergoing an expansion subsequent to a recently approved stock offering designed to provide the resources the company needs to market its products and finalize the production methodology on its revolutionary armor products.
For more information please visit http://www.fenrir.com.
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Fenrir Industries, Inc., is a developer, manufacturer and global supplier of law enforcement, public safety, and military equipment located in Stamford CT. Complete company and product information can be found at our web site at http://www.fenrir.com
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