DHS seeks cargo-screening imaging technology to detect explosives hidden in freight before shipping on passenger jets

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., 18 June 2010. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are asking industry to develop new kinds of cargo-screening systems with imaging technology that are able to detect explosives hidden in palletized goods before shipping aboard passenger aircraft. Officials of the explosives division of the DHS Transportation Security Laboratory in Atlantic City, N.J., issued a broad agency announcement (BAA 10-19) Thursday for the Screening of Palletized Air Cargo – Emerging Technologies program.

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., 18 June 2010. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are asking industry to develop new kinds of cargo-screening systems with imaging technology that are able to detect explosives hidden in palletized goods before shipping aboard passenger aircraft.

Officials of the explosives division of the DHS Transportation Security Laboratory in Atlantic City, N.J., issued a broad agency announcement (BAA 10-19) Thursday for the Screening of Palletized Air Cargo – Emerging Technologies program to develop new equipment to screen air cargo for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) made from commercial, military, and improvised detonators, power sources, and explosives.

DHS wants an imaging system able to screen 40-by-48-by-60-inch pallets that weigh as much as 3,500 pounds to find explosives hidden in clothing, produce, seafood and meats, flowers, electronics, machine parts, printed material, and other kinds of durable goods.

DHS needs a system able to scan at least 20 skids per hour with 2-D and 3-D imaging technologies. Two-dimensional imaging systems must have resolution sufficient to enable analysts to distinguish a 26 AWG wire through 6-, 4-, 2-, and 1-inch sheet steel and through 4-, 2-, 1-, and 1/4-inch polyethylene regardless of conveyor belt speed.

Three-dimensional imaging systems, meanwhile, must provide sufficient resolution to enable operators to distinguish 2 1/4 line pairs per centimeter inside steel pipes of 3-inch inside diameter and 4-, 2-, 1-, and 1/2-inch wall thickness, and inside polyethylene pipes of 3-inch inside diameter and 2-, 1-, 1/2-, and 1/4-inch wall thickness regardless of conveyor belt speed.

Image display and manipulation software must include tools to select and expand portions of the displayed image; a reset button to return the display to the default setting; false color to highlight metal and organic materials; and other image analysis tools to sharpen, smooth, or otherwise manipulate the displayed image.

DHS will conduct experiments with selected prototype equipment in realistic, operational scenarios. DHS is only interested in systems with capital costs less than $500,000, and will spend about $3 million total on this program.

Companies interested must respond with white papers by 2 Aug. 2010. Invitations to submit full proposals are expected on 9 Aug. 2010. For questions or concerns, contact the DHS contracting officer Emily S. Graham by phone at 202-254-5611, or by e-mail at Emily.Graham@hq.dhs.gov.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DHS/OCPO/DHS-OCPO/BAA10-19/listing.html.

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