The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) currently has two high-speed explosive detection systems (EDS) in its testing cycle and expects to begin testing one of the systems in an airport environment in 2017 and the other in 2018, says the head of the agency’s Checked Baggage Technology Division.
The two high-speed systems are from Smiths Detection and Safran Group’s Morpho Detection and one “will likely get into the operational environment for operational testing this fiscal year,” Mario Wilson tells attendees at the annual American Association of Airport Executives Aviation Security Summit. “Depending on the schedule, the other in the next fiscal year.”
If the operational testing goes well then the high-speed systems will be added to the Qualified Products List (QPL) for future projects, Wilson says. He says high-speed systems could be available for purchase beginning in FY ’18.
Wilson didn’t quantify demand for the high-speed EDS, which would have throughputs of at least 1,200 checked bags per hour in inline scanning installations, but says that “a lot of airports really, really would like to have high speed systems,” adding that they’ve been asking for them for a while.
TSA has been replacing legacy medium-speed EDS with “new more capable” medium-speed systems that are currently on the QPL, Wilson says. The agency has also been upgrading some of the legacy medium-speed EDS to meet current threat detection requirements, a capability that wasn’t available several years ago, which means millions of dollars in cost savings.
TSA currently acquires medium-speed EDS from L-3 Communications [LLL] and Morpho Detection. The two high-speed systems in the TSA test process are Smiths’ XCT Hi-SCAN and Morpho Detection’s CTX-9800 SEIO, Wilson says.
OSI Systems’ [OSIS] Rapiscan Systems division and L-3’s Security & Detection Systems division also have high-speed EDS systems that they have sold to international airports. Another company, SureScan Corp., is also developing a high-speed EDS system.
In his AAAE presentation, Wilson says TSA is planning recapitalizing in FY ’18 of 94 legacy Morpho Detection CTX-5500 medium-speed EDS at 14 airports and has plans to upgrade or replace 270 legacy Morpho Detection CTX-9000 and 9400 medium-speed EDS between FY ’17 and FY ’22 at 22 airports.