Customs and Border Protection last week selected Astrophysics, Leidos [LDOS] and OSI Systems’ [OSIS] Rapiscan Systems division to provide low-energy portals that allow for the scanning of vehicles while occupants remain inside and drive through a checkpoint on their way into the U.S. from Mexico.

The ceiling value of the Low-Energy Portal (LEP) contract is $390 million and Leidos said last Thursday it had already received an initial order worth $107 million, including options.

The award follows contracts worth $480 million from CBP earlier this year to Leidos, Rapiscan and Britain’s Smiths Detection for the Multi-Energy Portal (MEP) program. The MEP systems allow for the scanning of trucks at ports of entry without the driver having to vacate the vehicle, as the systems scan the cab at a low energy and automatically switch to a higher energy when scanning the cargo box.

Leidos also said it has received a second delivery order under the MEP contract worth $95 million, including options.

For both the LEP and MEP programs, Leidos’ offering includes Viken Detection’s OSPREY low-energy backscatter imaging technology.

The LEP and MEP awards are key milestones in CBP making a dramatic push toward scanning all, or at least nearly all, cargo and vehicles entering the U.S. through land ports of entry.

In 2020, CBP was scanning about 15 percent of commercial vehicles entering the U.S. at land ports of entry and 1 percent of passenger vehicles. The agency’s hopes to increase those numbers to around 70 and 40 percent, respectively, in the next few years as it deploys its LEP and MEP non-intrusive inspection systems that allow for faster scanning of vehicles because the occupants can drive through the scanner rather than exiting the vehicles as is typically the case.

The portals are used by CBP to scan vehicles and cargo for potential threats, contraband, drugs, weapons and illegal migrants.

In 2020, CBP awarded Leidos, Rapiscan and Smiths Detection a $379 million multiple-award contract enabling the companies to compete to provide NII systems for scanning rail cars entering the U.S. along the northern and southern borders.