Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Friday released a congressionally-mandated multi-year investment plan for its inspection and detection systems used to image containers and other conveyances at the nation’s ports of entry that shows a need for hundreds of various systems in the coming years.

CBP currently operates a fleet of 315 large-scale non-intrusive inspection (NII) systems and 4,204 small-scale NII systems, with 14 percent of the large-scale systems at or past their estimated useful life as of Sept. 30, 2015, says the report, Inspection and Detection Technology: Multi-Year Investment and Management Plan, dated Aug. 1.

American Science and Engineering's drive-through Z Portal NII system used by CBP. Photo: AS&E
American Science and Engineering’s drive-through Z Portal NII system used by CBP. Photo: AS&E

The large-scale systems are typically fixed or mobile X-ray or Gamma Ray imaging systems for inspecting containers and vehicles and the small-scale systems run the gamut from X-ray vans, baggage scanners and handheld imagers to density maters, fiberscopes and tool trucks.

Some of CBP’s NII providers include American Science and Engineering [ASEI], which is in the process of being acquired by another supplier to the agency, OSI Systems [OSIS], Leidos [LDOS], Britain’s Smith Detection, and the Morpho Detection business of France’s Safran Group. Smiths Detection is acquiring Morpho Detection.

Between FY ’16 and FY ’21 CBP plans to purchase 174 large-scale NII systems, including 74 medium-energy mobile units. Most of the planned purchases are to replace existing equipment while the agency expects to buy 26 systems to meet new requirements driven by factors such as expanded trade flow.

During the same period, CBP is forecasting that it will buy 2,923 small-scale NII systems, the majority of which are density meters. The agency plans to acquire 2,247 density meters, which help officers locate hidden narcotics and other contraband like money, weapons and explosives.

CBP plans to buy 60 X-ray vans and 173 X-ray systems from FY ’16 to FY ’21.

In FY ’16 Congress provided $90.2 million to purchase new NII systems and $119 million to operate, maintain and support existing equipment. CBP is seeking $54.3 million in FY ’17 for new NII systems and $119 million to operate and maintain current systems.

The investment plan does not provide projected funding levels for the out years.