The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last Friday issued a draft statement (SOW) of work ahead of the next round in its acquisition of new airport checkpoint baggage scanners with an award expected in the third or fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, about a year later than originally expected.

The agency said the competition for the checkpoint CT systems, which will also include Automated Screening Lanes (ASLs), will begin and end within FY ’21. The solicitation is expected to be released during the first quarter of FY ’21.

Smith Detection in March 2019 won the first contract to supply 300 checkpoint CT systems. About half of the systems have been installed at a number of airports.

The CT systems, which are based on the same technology used to automatically screen checked bags for explosives, provide better image quality to operators and are expected to lead to a better travel experience for passengers. Travelers putting their carry-on luggage through a checkpoint CT system don’t have to divest their personal electronic devices such as laptop computers and eventually the technology is expected to allow passengers to leave their liquids inside their bags.

The ASL systems consist of multiple divestment stations so that several passengers can place their items to be scanned directly onto a mechanized roller system that feeds into the CT scanner. If there is a suspect bag in the scanner, the system will automatically divert the luggage to a secondary inspection area. Bags that have been cleared will be directed to a roller system for passenger retrieval. The ASLs also feature an automatic bin return system.

In addition to Smiths, Analogic, Integrated Defense & Security Solutions, and Leidos [LDOS] are expected to compete for the checkpoint CT award or awards. Leidos and Smiths also have their own ASL lines. Other ASL manufacturers include the Dutch companies Scarabee and Vanderlande.

TSA expects to eventually acquire around 2,200 to 2,400 checkpoint CT systems.