Various airport checkpoints across the US will soon see increased security measures, following the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) announcement that up to $1.3 billion has been awarded to three companies to purchase computed tomography (CT) scanners.
According to the TSA, Analogic Corporation will provide up to 426 base-size units, IDSS Holdings will provide up to 359 mid-size units and Smiths Detection Incorporated will provide up to 429 full-size CT X-ray systems.
“These CT units represent sophisticated technology that helps our professional, dedicated and highly skilled workforce detect new and evolving threats to improve aviation security,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Deploying these units across our security checkpoints as expeditiously as possible will also improve checkpoint efficiency and the passenger experience.”
CT scanners apply sophisticated algorithms and create 3D rotatable images to help operators detect explosives and prohibited items. TSA officers can then view and rotate the image on three axes to analyze and identify any threat items that may be in a passenger’s carry-on baggage. Similar to what is used to scan checked baggage, this equipment is sized to fit the checkpoint environment.
TSA continues to partner with industry, airlines, and airports to raise the bar for technology standards and provide better security faster. TSA considered nine proposals following the solicitation for these awards.
The TSA says that in August 2021, it awarded $198 million for the procurement of mid-size CT X-ray systems. In March 2022, it announced two awards for a combined total value of up to $781.2 million for the procurement of base and full-size CT X-ray systems for airport checkpoints.
The administration says that there are approximately 634 CT units currently installed in airports and installations continue at TSA checkpoints across the country.
The increase in spending on CT scanners for airports across the US, including the latest announcement, is a clear indicator of the success of these systems in detecting bad actors and preventing potential security threats. With installations of the newest scanners due to begin in summer 2023, there is a likelihood that within the next five years the pattern will continue, with more scanners procured by the TSA.