September 14th, 2006 02:37 EST
DHS Announces Major Investment in Advanced Radiography Equipment for Radiological and Nuclear Detection
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the award of the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography System (CAARS) program contracts totaling an estimated $1.35 billion to SAIC of San Diego, Calif., American Science & Engineering of Billerica, Mass., and L-3 Communications of Woburn, Mass. The CAARS award, which comes following a fully competitive acquisition, will complement the nation`s radiological and nuclear detection capabilities.
CAARS is the latest effort in the department`s broader strategy to enhance our nation`s security by harnessing cutting-edge, automated technologies to better detect radiological and nuclear threats at our nation`s points of entry, " said Vayl S. Oxford, Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. This advanced equipment will greatly enhance our ability to detect these greater threats while also improving our ability to scan greater portions of cargo in a timely, effective manner. "
The CAARS program will deliver an advanced imaging system that will automatically detect high density shielding that could be used to hide special nuclear material such as highly enriched uranium or weapons grade plutonium. CAARS will improve throughput rates providing more effective scanning of a higher portion of cargo at the nation`s points of entry.
Detection of special nuclear material is accomplished with both passive radiation portal monitors and active automated x-ray imaging, " said Oxford. Deploying both Advanced Spectroscopic Portals (ASP) and CAARS systems to work in tandem provide the nation with the capability to detect unshielded, lightly shielded and shielded materials across the threat spectrum without slowing down commerce. "
CAARS will also be capable of the detection of traditional contraband such as high explosives and drugs. The DNDO budget supports the production and the deployment of approximately 300 CAARS domestically and internationally from over the next six years.
The awards were the result of a fully competitive acquisition based on an original solicitation on Feb. 17, 2006. DHS awarded each firm an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for an overall period of performance for seven years, including an estimated two-year period for development of one prototype CAARS system, and five years for the production period. After successful deployment of each system, each firm will be afforded the opportunity to compete for manufacturing of the production items, spiral development and follow-on support.
Office of the Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010