Last month, a passenger was blown out of a plane after a bomb exploded in an apparently blundered attack on a flight as it left Somalia.
Since the plane had not reached a high altitude, the pilot was able to return the plane to Mogadishu and save the remaining passengers.
But the incident was enough to raise concerns in the intelligence community, with sources close to the investigation claiming the device used was "sophisticated".
And insiders have claimed there is no doubt the hardware being tested in Africa will be brought to Europe and the United States.
The shocking warnings follow bans from both the UK and the US on electronic devices in hand luggage from certain countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
The ban includes flights coming in from transport hubs including Ataturk Airport in Turkey, Cairo International Airport in Egypt and Hamad International in Doha.
The UK and US have both banned large electronic devices from flights arriving from certain countries
Behind the scenes, experts have warned the Somali incident was a “wake-up call for security agencies and those working in the field of explosive detection”.
The device was smuggled through an X-ray machine by airport staff and handed to a man to take on the Daallo Airlines Flight 159 to Djibouti.
Bomb detection specialists Dr. William McGann, chief executive officer of Implant Sciences Corporation, and former officer for Homeland Security Robert Liscouski have warned leaders about the threat to flights in the West from devices carried onto planes in developing countries.
The pair's report on the evolving challenges for explosion protection has argued airports in the developing world have a lack of up-to-date security measures which threatens the safety for the rest of the world.
It claims one month before the strike on the Mogidashu flight, which was claimed by terror group al-Shabaab, a laptop device exploded at a security checkpoint at another Somali airport.
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The risk of airport employees who become radicalised into aiding terror still causes concern
The report adds: “Daallo Airlines Flight 159 set off alarm bells within the US aviation security community because it demonstrated terrorists’ continued determination to use complex methods to attack passenger jets.
“Technologies and security measures will need to improve to stay one step ahead of innovative terrorists.
“Given the pattern of recent Islamic State attacks, there is a strong argument for extending state-of-the-art explosive detection systems beyond the aviation sector to locations such as sports arenas and music venues.
“The uptick in plots and attacks in Europe by the Islamic State against targets of opportunity such as a soccer stadium and a music venue underline the need for a broader deployment of explosives detection systems.”
The attack in Somalia occurred just months after an EgyptAir mechanic allegedly helped smuggle a bomb onboard Metrojet Flight 9268 at Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing 224.
The risk of airport employees who become radicalised or blackmailed into aiding terror – the presumed cause of the downing of the Russian jet – continues to cause concern.
The report claims detecting an "insider threat" – someone who has legitimate access to sensitive parts of the airport – can be difficult if they manage to bypass security systems.
Meanwhile Al-Qaeda chief bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri sparked fears over the safety of passenger planes in 2010 when he developed “very difficult-to-detect IED using printer cartridges to conceal 400 grams of PETN”.
The devices were set to blow mid-flight on two US bound cargo aircraft, and passed undetected through security because they had the same relative density of an average printer cartridge, fooling X-ray systems.
The report said: “Police initially had failed to find one of the devices at East Midlands Airport in the UK despite using sniffer dogs and passing the printer through an X-ray.
Somalia Terror Attack Wed, January 25, 2017
At least seven people were killed after two car bombs exploded outside a popular Mogadishu hotel, and gunmen forced their way inside the building and opened fire, police said.
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A general view shows the scene of a secondary explosion in front of Dayah hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu
“Al-Asiri is also believed to have been behind another plot to bomb a US-bound plane, which was thwarted in April 2012 because the suicide bomber selected for the operation was a double agent working for Saudi and British intelligence.
“For several years there has been concern that al-Asiri has shared his bomb-making prowess with a cadre of apprentices within AQAP. Western intelligence agencies also believe AQAP has transferred key technology to al-Qaeda elements in Syria.”
The report recommends the “deployment of state-of-the-art systems” rather than harsher security measures in the West.
The duo behind the report said hysteria over new threats should be avoided, since “X-rays, canines, and ETD sensors work very well” – but that they should be working everywhere in the world and not just in developed countries.
Multi-layered screening processes are used to detect explosives in checked and carry-on luggage, including walk-through metal detectors, AIT (or body scanners), multi-view X-ray machines.
Multi-layered screening processes are used to detect explosives in checked and carry-on luggage
These are able to detect materials contained inside baggage, but often cannot detect the individual chemical components of bombs.
Sniffer dogs trained to spot the scents of bomb-making materials are also used as another layer of protection.
But Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) systems can make use of fundamental chemistry and physics to separate and identify targeted threats at a molecular level.
The report adds: "The latest generation ETDs, when used in combination with the latest X-ray technologies, are generally excellent at detecting TNT, plasticised explosives such as C-4, PETN (Detasheet), and Semtex.
X-rays are able to detect the density of materials contained inside baggage
"This powerful combination of technologies should catch these explosives threats, even if it were concealed in the electronics of a laptop, because ETD swabs can detect minute amounts of residue."Together these provide a strong system of bomb detection – but the report claims security services are becoming "more difficult to sustain" while terrorists use relatively cheap means of production to carry out attacks on high value targets."
It adds: "Until we are successful in changing the paradigm in which cheap terrorism is effective terrorism, we need to be prepared to continue to invest in technologies and processes that make it more difficult for them to succeed."