Detecting explosives at a “standoff” distance—defined as a meter or two--remains an important, yet elusive, capability requirement of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in their effort to protect government facilities. Currently, vehicle screening methods consist of visual inspections and occasional random security officer or canine inspections. Although these measures offer substantial deterrence value, they provide very limited discrimination capabilities against harmless items. Furthermore, such screening methods are manpower intensive and time consuming. Throughput and safety concerns limit or even prohibit the use of currently available commercial screening technologies.
The Standoff Explosives Trace Detection Program aims to develop technologies to enable and/or improve screening for explosives concealed in or on vehicles from a safe range before vehicles enter parking areas at federal facilities. Toward that goal on Monday officials of the DHS in Washington released a solicitation for the Standoff Explosives Detection on Vehicles (SED-V) component of the full Standoff Explosives Trace Detection program. Specifically, DHS is reaching out to industry for detection systems that will allow non-contact, near real-time screening against person-borne and vehicle-borne threats; a capability not currently available.
This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) addresses the advancement of standoff detection techniques for explosive residues on external vehicle surfaces. It should be noted that techniques requiring sample collection and/or pre-concentration for subsequent analysis will be considered non-responsive. For example, vapor collection techniques with subsequent analysis are not considered “standoff”, even though direct contact with a subject is not necessary.
Other key requirements:
Variable from 0.25 to 2m
Thumbprint quantities (<250 μg/cm2)
The SED-V project has three phases: a 12-to-18-month advanced feasibility demonstration and preliminary design review; a 12-to-18-month safety validation and critical design review; and a 12-to-18-month prototype completion and test readiness review.