The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last Friday awarded Analogic a potential $198.4 million contract to provide advanced scanning systems used to screen carry-on bags at passenger security checkpoints at U.S. airports.
The August 27 award notice published in the government procurement site Sam.gov said the contract is for the mid-size variant of the Checkpoint Property Screening System (CPSS) computed tomography (CT) scanners, window 1, increment 1.
For CPSS mid-size, Analogic will supply its ConneCT CT systems, powered conveyors for CT ingress and egress, an automatic divert capability to send suspect bags to a secondary screening area, primary and alternate viewing stations, and the bins. Increment 1 refers to the explosives threat detection standard.
Analogic was the only company so far to meet the standards for increment 1, an industry official told Defense Daily on Monday.
The win by Analogic adds a second vendor to TSA’s effort to eventually replace its current fleet of Advanced Technology (AT) X-Ray systems with the more advanced CT technology at airport checkpoints. In March 2019, TSA awarded Smiths Detection a $97 million contract for the first tranche of checkpoint CT systems.
The award to Smiths, which covered 300 of the company’s HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX systems, was made under the AT/CT detection standard and essentially integrates with existing checkpoint lanes. The last of those units was installed in U.S. airport in mid-April. A subsequent protest, that was eventually rejected, delayed system acceptance testing and initial deployments of Smiths’ systems.
Darby LaJoye, then-acting administrator of TSA, told a House panel in May that the agency expected to award a CPSS mid-size contract for 242 systems during fiscal year 2021, which ends on September 30. The number of systems that the agency procures depends on the value of the contract. The award to Smiths for the first 300 systems came as a shock to the other competitors who were surprised how low Smiths’ bid was at the time.
The checkpoint CT systems provide the operator with a virtual three-dimensional image of a bag’s contents, improving threat detection. The CT systems, which are based on the explosive detection systems used to automatically detect explosive threats in checked bags, also include automated threat detection algorithms that not only enhance threat detection but allow passengers to leave their personal electronics and laptop computers inside their bags, thereby speeding processing at the checkpoint.
In addition to Analogic and Smiths Detection, Integrated Defense and Security Solutions and Leidos [LDOS] are offering checkpoint CT systems for the CPSS procurements.
Base and Full-Size
Bids are due August 31 for the CPSS base and full-size CT procurements with awards expected in the coming months. The award for the mid-size CT systems came about seven months after bids were due.
TSA is requesting $104.5 million in fiscal year 2022 for checkpoint CT systems. House appropriators have agreed to fund the request. Senate appropriators have yet to mark up their recommendations for the spending bill.
In its markup this summer, the House appropriators said they want TSA to provide Congress with the plan for completing checkpoint CT deployments at U.S. airports by 2026 at the latest. That appears to be an aggressive timeline unless TSA is able to purchase and deploy at least 300 systems annually between now and then.
For the base-size, the winning contractor will supply CT systems, primary and alternate viewing stations, divest and revest roller tables, ingress and egress conveyors, a manual divert subsystem, and bins. The full-size procurement uses what TSA calls the Automated Security Lane, which in addition to the CT systems, includes the viewing stations, three stations per lane to allow more travelers to divest their belongings for screening, powered ingress and egress conveyors, auto-divert and screening systems, automatic bin return, and a threat containment unit for potential bombs.
Eventually, TSA plans to purchase CT systems under increment 2 of the CPSS, which will also include more advanced threat detection algorithms for explosives and prohibited items such as weapons.
Analogic, which is a portfolio company of the private equity firm Altaris Capital Partners, provides the core CT technology used in the checked baggage explosive detection systems supplied by Leidos. Delta Air Lines [DAL] has also purchased some ConneCT systems and ASLs for use in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport checkpoint screening lanes.