TSA personnel swab the inside of bags, then take the material and place it in a machine that checks for traces of explosives.
Now, a new generation of detectors has arrived.
TSA Director, Gary Milano, says the new system is vision oriented.
“Is more akin to an MRI type thing,” Milano said. “It's more of a visual of the molecular structure of the items in the bags and from there we can determine whether or not there are explosives contained in it.”
It's the first of four of the machines due at Hancock Airport. They will be used to supplement the normal detection procedures. Those units should be in place and in full use by later in the fall.
“It's going to take us about four to eight weeks to get everybody up and trained, but it's going to be a gradual process,” Milano said
If there is any lesson from the past five years, it has been made clear that each improvement in technology is simply one step forward.
“One of the things that TSA and the Department of Homeland Security are constantly doing is re-appraising the threat that's out there and adjusting, in terms of both the training and personnel and of course the technology and equipment to meet that threat. So, as we speak, that process is ongoing and, yes, there are other things that in the months and years to come will replace even these machines in time,” Milano said.
The race against time goes on.
One of the biggest challenges of the new technology is just getting it positioned in the terminal. Each unit weighs approximately 6,000 pounds.