TSA Awards Contracts For Next Generation Carry-on Luggage Screening

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last week awarded Analogic Corp. [ALOG] and Reveal Imaging Technologies, Inc. development and engineering contracts for next generation screening systems to detect explosives and weapons on carry-on bags.

Analogic received $3.8 million and Reveal $3.6 million for Project Cambria, TSA said in a Sept. 26 FedBizOpp announcement.

Under Cambria, TSA is moving to either replace or augment X-ray systems, which are based largely on technology developed in the 1970s, deployed at airport checkpoints with more advanced X-ray technology developed to inspect checked baggage for explosives and weapons, albeit on a smaller scale.

Analogic, headquartered in Peabody, Mass., offered its COBRA explosives and weapons technology, which is based on computed tomography to generate three- dimensional images of items being screened. The X-ray source and detector rotate 360-degrees on a gantry around the carry-on items as they move through the system along a conveyor belt, ensuring complete coverage.

Current systems have fixed X-ray sources and detectors. If an item inside the carry-on bags blocks the X-rays, operators frequently have to rescan luggage to ensure they are able to view its entire contents, adding time to a passenger's wait in line.

The COBRA system was demonstrated earlier this year at Boston's Logan International Airport.

Analogic's EXACT explosives detection system, which is larger than the COBRA, is the core of L-3 Communication's [LLL] Explosives Detection System (EDS) that it sells to TSA for checked baggage screening.

Reveal, based in Bedford, Mass., hasn't disclosed its system for CAMBRIA. Earlier this year, TSA certified Reveal's CT-80 EDS and began procuring some of the systems for pilot demonstrations in airport lobbies. The CT-80 is smaller than the L-3 and General Electric [GE] EDS systems, which are also TSA- certified, and is expected to be deployed in airport lobbies where the larger machines take up too much floor space.

The CT-80 is also based on computed tomography, which allows for cross- sectional X-rays to be taken of whatever is being scanned.

TSA declined to say how long the Cambria project will last although the companies will be supplying prototypes during multiple phases of the program.

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