TSA awards explosive contracts

The Transportation Security Administration chose General Electric InVision and L-3 Communications to maintain bomb detectors in airports.

TSA on March 14 announced two separate contracts for General Electric InVision and L-3 Communications to maintain explosive detection systems in the largest U.S. airports. GE’s indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity in contract is worth up to $36 million, while L-3’s IDIQ contract has a maximum value of $28 million. Both are four and a half years long.

Earlier this month, Siemens won a four and a half year, $46.9 million deal to maintain explosive trace detection machines, X-ray machines and metal detectors at all commercial airports.

The maintenance contracts were awarded following the completion of Boeing's contract to deploy explosive detection systems and explosive trace detection systems in U.S. commercial airports. Boeing received $1.38 billion to install 1,100 explosive detection machines at major airports and 6,000 trace detection devices at 450 commercial airports.

Boeing will continue to support TSA’s Registered Traveler pilot, under a subcontract with Unisys. Although Boeing has no contracts with TSA, company officials said they will still focus on transportation security. "We’re having a number of discussions with TSA about both port and rail security," said Mark Nelson, Boeing spokesman.

Now that the detection machines have been installed, TSA officials are considering more trace detection portals, which look for hints of explosive devices as travelers walk through. The transportation agency began testing trace portals at five airports last summer, and deployed a sixth in the fall at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Jacksonville International Airport started testing this January.

TSA officials hope to expand trace portal technology to 14 by early summer.

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