31 July 2003

Smiths earns major contracts for additional airport screening equipment

Continuous improvements in airport security standards have resulted in further orders for Smiths trace detection and x-ray security equipment, valued at more than $15 million. Around one-third of this is the value of a contract for additional Ionscan 400B explosives detection machines for the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), for deployment at a number of airports across the USA.

The TSA is acquiring the additional detection equipment to expand its operations at airport security checkpoints, increasing screening levels and passenger throughput. The Ionscan 400B is the principal product used by the TSA for trace detection of explosives in carry-on baggage, to protect air travellers against terrorist threats. Over 3,000 Ionscan 400B machines, capable of detecting the smallest traces of explosives substances on hand luggage, have been purchased from Smiths Detection during the past 12 months for use in most major airports throughout the US.

In addition to orders for trace detection equipment from Smiths Detection, the TSA recently awarded Smiths Heimann a contract for x-ray systems valued at more than $7 million, for checkpoint carry-on baggage. These x-ray screening systems, which will work alongside the Ionscan 400B detectors at many airports, are equipped with threat image projection technology to improve training procedures. Smiths Heimann has been awarded contracts covering more than 50 per cent of TSA purchases of x-ray units for security checkpoints.

In another new contract, Smiths Heimann will supply the HI-SCAN 10080 EDtS automatic explosives detection system, for installation at a number of UK, airports. The contract, placed by British Airports Authorities (BAA), requires delivery by September 2003. The EDtS systems provide automatic explosives inspection of all checked baggage before loading onto an aircraft, with throughput up to 1,800 bags per hour.

In Senegal, Dakar International Airport has become the first African airport to take delivery of the Sentinel II explosives detection portal, made by Smiths Detection. The passenger screening device is now being installed, together with the Ionscan 400B trace detector. The increased security measures form an important part of the refurbishment at Dakar, one of the busiest airports in west Africa handling many trans-Atlantic and European flights, and which is setting a standard for security that will provide a benchmark throughout the African continent. The new trace detection equipment will operate alongside x-ray security systems supplied recently by Smiths Heimann.

Sentinel II is currently undergoing extensive trials in Terminal 1 of the world's busiest airport, London Heathrow. Over 75,000 passengers, randomly selected, have now passed through the portal, which adds to existing layers of security without compromising throughput. Following the current evaluation, airport operator BAA will consider the wider introduction of Sentinel, as part of a continuous programme to increase public confidence in air travel.

In addition to these latest orders, x-ray equipment that forms the largest ever automatic explosives detection project for Smiths Heimann, has just entered into service with the opening of Munich Airport's new Terminal 2. Forming a fully integrated multi-level system at Germany's 2nd busiest airport, Smiths Heimann has supplied 19 'Level 1' and 11 'Level 2' systems, valued at Euros 17 million, to provide 100% hold baggage screening.

From August 1, 2003, Smiths Detection and Smiths Heimann will form the new Detection division of Smiths Group plc. Combining the trace detection and x-ray security technologies of the two businesses, the new Smiths Detection division will provide screening solutions for customers in civil and military markets worldwide. In addition to explosives detection, Smiths Detection specialises in equipment to identify chemical and biological agents, contraband, narcotics, and hazardous or dangerous items. Specialist operations cover life sciences, product inspection (food) and biometric systems.

ENDS