The Department of Homeland Security was started in the aftermath of 9/11. Several years later, the electronics and security technology used to keep us safe from our enemies continues to evolve at an exponential rate.

In the Sky TSA and the Department of Homeland Security expend great effort securing airports and preventing threats from arriving on a plane, as this is where a security breach is most likely to occur. To catch airborne threats, an airborne early warning and control system is in place. Known as the AEW&C, this is a mobile radar system able to detect long range threats while at the same time carrying out surveillance.

Primarily designed to see enemy aircraft long before it reaches American cities, the AEW&C operates at high altitudes and is deployed on the Navy’s Super carriers. The system is on constant duty and employs the latest advances in electronics and circuit board technology.

TSA Tech

The walk-through metal detector is an old standby in airports and still used extensively by TSA. It is only one of many security layers passengers experience in an airport. Advanced imaging technology uses millimeter wave and backscatter x-rays to detect various threats at checkpoints, and checked baggage is scanned by an explosives detection system, which immediately sends alerts to security when a violation is found.

The explosives detection system machines work like an MRI for baggage. The magnetic resonance imaging technology analyzes bag contents and alerts security if it detects a threat. To detect potential threats at security checkpoints, explosive trace detection machines are used to detect explosive’s trace on passengers or their carry-ons.

TSA training uses a software program to project dangerous items randomly onto security screens during checkpoint screenings. The program is designed to keep the security staff alert and accustomed to identifying these images.

The Bottled liquid scanner is a separate machine, which can identify hazardous chemicals or liquid combinations. The machine uses light waves to analyze liquids and thousands of units are present in airports nationwide.

Using backscatter x-ray technology, the CastScope scans casts, prosthetic limbs and bandages which could conceal potential threats. The machine provides a non-invasive safety measure for prosthetic limb users, and a means to detect threats where there was not one previously.

In high clearance security zones, TSA also employs biometric scanning to confirm passenger identities. These are typically iris and fingerprint scans, which are unique to each individual.

With all this technology, one would think our airports and airways were completely safe. Unfortunately, as security measures advance, so do the efforts to bypass them. Everyday electronic engineers, developers and security are working to advance technology at a faster rate than those who work to bypass it.

MJS Designs has over 35 years in design, manufacturing, supply chain and fulfillment services to top defense, and commercial aerospace companies. Head quartered in Phoenix, AZ with an ISO and AS9100 certified facility, MJS Designs is focused on meeting the technically challenging, long life cycle, high mix, low volume and high reliability product and manufacturing requirements of customers. MJS Designs is an International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) certified company.