DHS Seeks Liquid Explosive Screening Technology

DHS Science and Technology Directorate puts out request for systems for testing materials in bottles


The Department of Homeland Security is seeking information from the makers of technology that could detect liquid explosives at airport screening checkpoints.

"It is (the department's) goal to investigate any and all potential detection technologies that may assist in the identification of explosive and flammable liquids," said homeland security in a solicitation notice.

The department's Science and Technology Directorate said it needed equipment which could work on "full or partially full bottles of any shape and color made from glass, plastic, paper or other materials which are typically found in the marketplace and passenger stream of commerce," and could handle at least 200 bottles an hour.

The notice, posted last week, said applicants had to be able to offer equipment for testing within 30 days, and would be entitled to expedited designation under the Safety Act, which protects the producers of qualified anti-terrorism technologies from being sued if they do not work.

Liquid explosives have been at the center of aviation security concerns since British police arrested 24 people earlier this month. They have since charged 11 in connection with an alleged plot to smuggle liquid explosives on board transatlantic passenger planes and blow them up.

Simultaneously with the arrests, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration banned all liquids and gels on U.S. flights.

Officials have said the ban will likely have to remain in force until some way of effectively screening liquids is found.