TSA checkpoint at Washington Dulles International Airport gets new state-of-the-art 3-D checkpoint scanner to improve explosives detection

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Local Press Release
Friday, August 10, 2018

DULLES, Va. —  A new state-of-the-art advanced technology computed tomography checkpoint scanner (CT) that provides 3-D imaging is being tested at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). The new technology provides critical explosives detection capabilities at the checkpoint.

As TSA continues to raise the baseline for aviation security, the new technology intends to enhance critical explosives and other threat items detection capabilities at airport checkpoints. The system applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives by creating a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a TSA officer. If a bag requires further screening, TSA officers will inspect it to ensure that a threat item is not contained inside.  

TSA is conducting this demonstration at one checkpoint lane at the airport.

“TSA is committed in getting the best technology to enhance security and improve the screening experience. Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at the checkpoint,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

“Research and development efforts have shown that CT is the most consequential technology available today for airport checkpoints worldwide,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s federal security director for the airport.

This equipment is similar to what is used to scan checked baggage for explosive devices, and has been “sized” to fit at checkpoints to create such a clear image of a bag’s contents that the system can automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt to provide TSA officers with the three-dimensional views of the contents of a carry-on bag.

Checkpoint CT technology should result in fewer bag checks. Passengers using this machine will be permitted to leave laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags.

TSA plans to have up to 40 units in place at airports around the nation by the end of the year, along with 16 units at federal testing facilities. More than 145 will be in airports by the end of fiscal year 2019. Locally, a unit also will be installed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and it also is scheduled to be in use this month. Several manufacturers of CT checkpoint technology scanners are providing the devices for testing. The initial 15 units are being deployed to the following airports, with more airports receiving units in the coming months: Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), Houston Hobby Airport (HOU), Indianapolis International Airport (IND), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), McCarran International Airport (LAS), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), San Diego International Airport (SAN), St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) and Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD).

TSA began testing CT in 2017 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport. A third unit was recently deployed to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

For the most up-to-date information about CT, visit TSA’s Emerging Technologies page.