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Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Self-destruct button not just in the movies

  • Self-destruct mechanism.

    Self-destruct mechanism.

It's all very James Bond, but some U.S. combat aircraft had a self-destruct mechanism mounted in the cockpit.

If a pilot crash landed in enemy territory he could press the double buttons simultaneously and destroy the plane's security sensitive communications equipment. It was not enough to hurt the pilot, but the detonations rendered the vital communications systems useless to anyone who later found the aircraft.

The system also had an impact switch built in that would set off the explosives when the plane hit the ground after the pilot bailed out.

Story tags » Military aviation

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