Using technology that is currently being applied to screen checked bags at airports and automatically detect the presence of explosives, L-3 Communications [LLL] on Wednesday introduced a compact version of an explosives detection system (EDS) based on computed tomography (CT) for use at aviation security checkpoints.

L-3 says its ClearScan EDS, which combines CT technology with advanced detection algorithms, will allow travelers to leave liquids and electronics in their bags, which is something the Transportation Security Administration in the United States doesn’t permit with the current Advanced Technology (AT) X-Ray systems used to screen carry-on bags at the nation’s airports

L-3 demonstrated an integrated checkpoint solution in the United Kingdom to airport executives from around the world. The solution included ClearScan with an integrated tray return system and automatic RFID tracking, a ProVision 2 body scanner with risk-based algorithms to screen people with different levels of detection, and new software for checkpoint operations called IntelliCore.

L-3 says it is in discussion with “numerous airports and regulators” about ClearScan’s capabilities.

The system features baggage throughput of 500 parcels per hour, which is in line with the medium-speed EDS systems L-3 and its competitor, Morpho Detection, sell to TSA and international airports for checked baggage screening. Morpho Detection is part of France’s Safran Group.

“Enhancing security while facilitating passenger throughput, coupled with the need to help our customers control their operating costs, is a huge challenge,” says Tom Ripp, president of L-3’s Security & Detection Systems business. ClearScan “is designed to meet these needs.”

L-3 tells HSR that its ClearScan machine has a smaller footprint than conventional X-Ray machines and “has a weight similar to existing X-Ray systems, making it ideal for deployment at existing checkpoints without major structural changes.”

The company says there are opportunities worldwide for ClearScan, “beginning in Europe due to upcoming security regulation changes and the expected allowing of liquids and laptops in carry-on bags, which is enabled by our system capabilities.”

The TSA is beginning to give checkpoint concepts and screening technologies more attention as it tries to figure out how to create a Checkpoint of the Future where travelers essentially walk through at the “pace of life” and don’t have to divest liquids and electronics before their bags are scanned. The agency previously pilot tested for checkpoint use a CT-based EDS system developed by Analogic [ALOG] but decided against it, largely because of its cost.

Analogic’s COBRA system is being used at two airports internationally for checkpoint operations. The system can screen up to 550 bags per hour.

Analogic is a subcontractor to L-3 for EDS systems used to screen checked bags.

L-3 technology currently has a presence at airport checkpoints in the U.S. and internationally through its ProVision Advanced Imaging Technology, or AIT system, which is used to screen individuals for explosives and weapons.

With the introduction of ClearScan L-3 also announced a new software solution for checkpoint operations called IntelliCore, which can allow centralized remote screening, image archive retrieval, directed bag search, and real-time operational monitoring and reporting. The software also has a command center component to allow real-time access to security operations from a laptop or tablet.

ClearScan is in production, L-3 says.