From The Times
January 14, 2008
America buys "anti-terrorist
" spotter device from QinetiQ
Transport authorities in the United States have purchased a British-designed device to protect American stations and airports from the kind of terrorist attacks launched in Madrid and London.
QinetiQ, the former Ministry of Defence research unit, will announce today that the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has purchased its SPO threat detection system as part of a package of measures designed to improve security for travellers in America.
Described as a sniffer dog for the 21st century, QinetiQs device can see through clothing to detect explosives. Unlike the X-ray technology used in airports at present to locate guns and knives, it is suitable for quickly scanning large crowds.
The deal between the American transport authorities and the British company comes after a successful trial of the technology at the Staten Island ferry terminal and at Pier 90 in New York.
The TSA has bought 12 SPO units under a contract that allows for additional purchases over the next two years.
QinetiQ believes that its system is particularly effective in busy places because it can detect explosive devices from many metres away without passengers having to slow their pace.
The contract with the TSA has been made possible through QinetiQs rapid expansion into the American market in the past three years, after it made a series of acquisitions of small defence technology companies that formed the backbone of a new QinetiQ North America subsidiary.