It is a world first: technology for the remote, real-time detection of explosives was tested live in an underground station in a major European city. The results were conclusive, paving the way for more widespread use of this technology. It marked the completion of the development and test phase of the Stand-off Detection of Explosives programme, known as STANDEX – the result of four years of joint work between experts from NATO and Russia.
STANDEX is a unique and innovative programme using various technologies, which have been shared and tested for the first time. It can detect explosives remotely, in real time and without disrupting the flow of passengers. It can identify, track and locate any object or person identified as carrying explosives, and can control the triggering of the alarm.
“The first two technologies are based on microwave scanning,” says Dmitry Vakhtin, researcher at the Khlopin Radium Institute, based in St Petersburg, Russia. “The system detects explosives concealed on someone,” he explains. Anomalies in the molecular composition of the objects or people under surveillance can be seen immediately.
The control system regulates all the sensors and centralises and combines all the data. If something unusual is detected, it triggers the video surveillance system and enhances the sensitivity of the next set of sensors.
“The spectroscopy technique is very powerful,” says an Italian representative of the Rome-based National Agency for new Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). “It detects traces of explosives everywhere on people. It is a unique technology which can be operated in mass transit and in eye-safe mode, in full respect of international security laws,” he adds.