John Hughes
Bloomberg
July 18, 2008

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will triple the number of devices at airports that can detect bombs under airline passengers’ clothing.

The purchase of 80 so-called Passenger Imager machines will bring the total in use next year to 120 at 21 airports, agency spokesman Christopher White said today.

The imagers are produced by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan unit and American Science & Engineering Inc. The TSA hasn’t yet decided which vendors it will use or how much it will spend, White said in an interview.

Depending on the model, the devices rely on X-rays to show an outline of travelers’ bodies or electromagnetic waves to create an image that looks like a fuzzy photo negative. They are now used as a substitute for being scanned by TSA screeners with handheld detectors.

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