Homeland Security Briefs

July 1, 2005

Militarized chemical identification system designed for first responders

Engineers at Ahura Corp. in Wilmington, Mass., have developed the First Defender SC, a second generation of their First Defender product line optimized to meet the needs of first responders. The First Defender SC is a rugged handheld instrument for the identification of unknown liquids and solids. The rapid identification of potentially hazardous materials including toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), toxic industrial materials (TIMs), explosives, and narcotics is becoming increasingly critical to civilian first responders. The system is entirely self-contained, rugged, lightweight, and easy to use. It weighs less than 4 pounds and is easy to use while wearing Level A gear. It requires no calibration or consumables and is ready to use within seconds of turn-on, company officials say. For more information visit www.ahuracorp.com.

TSA certifies explosives detection-system upgrade kit

Officials at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Washington have certified an explosives detection-system (EDS) upgrade kit developed by Lockheed Martin in Owego, N.Y., as prime contractor and Analogic Corp. in Peabody, Mass. The upgrade kit was developed as part of TSA’s Phoenix Project, and certification qualifies the equipment for additional funding toward projects that will enhance baggage detection systems at U.S. airports. “Our team met stringent technical and testing requirements to deliver a solution that improves image clarity while reducing alarm rates,” says Brian Tanton, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Distribution Technologies business. “Our enhanced detection system provides operators with easy-to-identify images, rather than two-dimensional, monochromatic images.” Certification coupled with System Qualification enables Lockheed Martin, as prime contractor, to negotiate with the TSA to deploy detection systems first on a pilot basis, and then enter into negotiations to supply production upgrade kits for screening systems already installed at U.S. airports. The two companies focused on automating the movement of bags, improving the throughput of bags being scanned, and reducing the false-alarm rates for the screening process.

TSA orders 32 L-3 EDS machines

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials in Washington ordered 32 new eXaminer 6000 Explosives Detection System (EDS) machines from L-3 Communications of Woburn, Mass. The new order is valued at $28.1 million. The machines will support in-line explosives-detection systems currently under construction at several airports. “TSA is currently operating nine checked-baggage explosives-detection in-line systems with eight full and two partial systems under construction,” says Rear Adm. David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), assistant secretary of homeland security for TSA.

In-line baggage-screening systems will replace the large EDS machines now in airport lobbies and will be installed into the behind-the-scenes baggage-handling conveyor system where the baggage is screened for explosives and automatically sorted. This solution increases the efficiency of screening checked baggage and enables passengers to drop off their checked baggage at the ticket counter without a separate screening process.

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