Smiths Detection, one of three awardees for the potential $480 million contract to provide Multi-Energy Portal (MEP) systems to Customs and Border Protection, says that Viken Detection is on its team, providing backscatter imaging technology for the drive-through X-Ray inspection portals.
The inclusion of Viken on Smiths’ MEP team was disclosed earlier this month in a LinkedIn post by Patrick Thompson, product manager with Smiths Detection. Leidos [LDOS], another winner on the MEP program, also is using Viken’s backscatter technology on its solution.
With Viken on two of the MEP teams—OSI Systems [OSIS] is the third—the small security detection company’s prospects are further enhanced, including opportunities for more significant growth in the coming years as CBP moves from the initial low-rate MEP purchases it will use initially for evaluations on the northern and southern borders to wider deployments.
Viken is supplying its OSPREY detection platform to Leidos and Smiths. The OSPREY-EVX is a low-energy backscatter imaging technology. Leidos said in March that it is also offering Viken’s OSPREY-UVX under vehicle imaging technology as an option.
“Viken worked through a year of a pandemic, shutdowns, aggressive competitive tactics, and baseless accusations, at incredible sacrifice, so that the U.S. has more than one option to protect our southern border and stem the flow if illicit narcotics through wide-scale vehicle screening,” Jim Ryan, Viken’s president and CEO, told HSR in an email. “Moving past those challenges with these wins means that you should expect to hear more from Viken before long.”
The “aggressive competitive tactics and baseless accusations” refer to a lawsuit and subsequent appeals, all for naught, by OSI’s American Science & Engineering (AS&E) subsidiary against Viken related to patent infringement.
Viken in 2018 beat out AS&E to supply backscatter technology-based handheld imagers for CBP, a major victory for the small company. That award led to one for the same imager by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As of about 18 months ago, Viken had sold nearly 1,000 of its HBI-120 handheld imagers to various customers.
The company also recently formed a new business unit, Chemical Detection and Environmental Hazards, and said to expect new product announcements shortly as it targets new markets.
The MEP award is for 10 years and Leidos, OSI and Smiths will all compete for orders. The non-intrusive inspection systems feature a low-energy scanning capability, which is Viken’s backscatter imaging technology, to safely image the cab of a truck or tractor-trailer so that the occupants can remain inside the vehicle while the system provides an image for an operator to detect potential contraband and then automatically switch to a higher-energy imaging technology to enable robust screening of the cargo conveyance for illegal items.
CBP’s pending deployments of a large number of MEP systems will significantly increase the amount of cargo being scanned that enters the U.S. at land ports of entry.
Smiths Detection said it is supplying its HCVP Z60 system to CBP and that the first unit will be installed at a Laredo, Texas Border Patrol checkpoint by Sept. 2022. Smiths says its MEP can scan more than 100 vehicles per hour for dangerous and illicit goods, including explosives, weapons and drugs. The system also validates the shipping manifest.
Smiths has installed 80 HCVP Z60 units worldwide. Leidos is providing its VACIS IP6500 MEP to CBP, two of which were previously installed at a land port of entry in Brownsville, Texas, as part of a pilot project for cargo scanning in pre-primary inspection lanes. The IP6500 systems are similar to more than 40 mobile VACIS M6500s that Leidos has sold and deployed for CBP in the past two years.