The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has approved Smiths Detection’s IONSCAN 600 explosives trace detection system on its Air Cargo Screening Technology List (ACSTL).

The IONSCAN 600 system is the first of its kind to be approved on the TSA list under the latest programme requirements in order to ensure the security of cargo on-board aircraft.

The latest requirements came into effect last year and require a significantly higher level of explosives-detection capability and software functionality.

Smiths Detection’s IONSCAN 600 is a highly sensitive, lightweight, portable desktop trace detection system that identifies even minute quantities of explosives and narcotics, such as fentanyl, within seconds.

The technology is specifically designed to be flexible for use in dynamic screening environments.

It is also fully operational on hot-swappable batteries to ensure continuous use.

“IONSCAN 600 is a highly sensitive, lightweight, portable desktop trace detection system that identifies even minute quantities of explosives and narcotics.”

Smiths Detection Business Development and Sales vice-president Stephen Esposito said: “IONSCAN 600 becoming the first explosive trace detection system to make the ‘approved’ list for TSA’s ACSTL reflects Smiths Detection’s continued global leadership in aviation security technology.

“We are working with the TSA to complete testing to move IONSCAN 600 to the ‘qualified’ air cargo list and look forward to completing that process within the next year.”

The IONSCAN 600, which was submitted for TSA ACSTL testing in April, will be further evaluated for use in trace detection at checkpoints across the US airports.

Being similar in operation to previous generation systems, the new technology helps minimise the training requirements as cargo companies bring the new product into operation.

The system is much easier to maintain, helps save operational times and reduces cost over its lifecycle.