TSA to send 16 more AIT ATR units to airports

TSA to send 16 more AIT ATR units to airports

Tue, 2011-12-13 07:09 AM

By: Mark Rockwell

AIT scanner

The Transportation Security Administration will deploy electronic screening systems equipped with target recognition capabilities to 16 more airports, the agency said on Dec. 12.

The Advanced Imaging Technology(AIT) units with automated target recognition (ATR) software will be put in service at airports from Maine to Alaska, said TSA. The agency didn’t provide the roll out schedule, but said the equipment will be deployed in “the coming weeks.”

The ATR software provides screeners with a generic image of a human body instead of the actual scanned image of a passenger. The technology was developed because of concerns and complaints about the more graphic, personal images that the older AIT machines produced.

“The deployment of this technology further strengthens security while also enhancing passenger privacy,” said TSA Assistant Administrator for Security Capabilities Robin Kane. “The ability to safely detect non-metallic threats concealed under layers of clothing provides TSA Officers with an invaluable resource.”

TSA plans to deploy units to the following airports:
Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB)
Bangor International Airport (BGR)
Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS)
Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
Des Moines International Airport (DSM)
Eastern Iowa Airport (CID)
Grand Forks Airport (GFK)
Juneau International Airport (JNU)
Ketchikan International Airport (KTN)
Louisville International Airport (SDF)
Little Rock National Airport (LIT)
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP)
Portland International Jetport (PWM)
Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)
Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)

TSA said it would make additional airport announcements as plans are finalized. Those deployments, it added, depend on factors like airport readiness and checkpoint infrastructure. The 16 units being deployed are part of the 300 millimeter wave machines with ATR the agency bought last September. They join another 540 AIT units currently in use at 100 airports nationwide, said TSA. President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget included the purchase of 500 units, and the President’s fiscal 2012 budget requests funding for an additional 275 units, it said.

AIT detects metallic and non-metallic threats—including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing. The technology has led to the detection of hundreds of prohibited, illegal or dangerous items at checkpoint nationwide since January 2010, said the agency.
In making the latest announcement, TSA again reassured the public that the imaging technology is safe and meets all known national and international health and safety standards. The energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 1000 times less than the international limits and guidelines, it said.

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