TSA to Purchase Additional Explosives Trace Portals

Oct. 13, 2004
New trace portals require passengers to stand still for just a few seconds while air is collected for instant examination

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it is purchasing five Explosives Detection Trace Portal machines from Smiths Detection of Pine Brook, N.J., for delivery and deployment in early 2005. The equipment has been effective in screening passengers for explosives at various airport security checkpoints and TSA is eager to expand to additional sites. TSA will announce the selected airports in the next few weeks.

"With the recently announced new security procedures at the checkpoints and the piloting of new explosives detection equipment, TSA seeks to enhance its ability to prevent explosives from getting on-board an aircraft," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for TSA.

The trace portal is able to detect if a person is carrying or has been in contact with explosive material. Passengers place their carry-on baggage on the conveyer belt to be screened by x-rayed as normal, proceed through the walk-through metal detector, and then may be asked to step into the trace portal. Once inside, passengers will stand still for a few seconds while several quick "puffs" of air are released. The portal will analyze the air for traces of explosives and a computerized voice will tell passengers when to exit. Once cleared, passengers collect their carry-on baggage from the X-ray exit belt.

Under the one-year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract, TSA will purchase five machines from Smiths Detection Infrastructure for $731,500. This is the first delivery order for the company.