Coast Guard Adapts Fido Scout for Explosives Detection in Maritime Settings

WASHINGTON, – ICx Technologies announced today that its ultra-sensitive and light Fido explosives detector has been adapted by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety and Security Teams (MSST) for wide-area explosives detection in harsh, maritime environments; it will be known as the Fido Scout.

ICx developed Fido Scout under the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) Rapid Technology Application Program (RTAP). This program was launched in 2005 to meet the rapid technology-development needs of emergency responders, and ICx was awarded a $2 million contract in November 2006 to develop an explosive-trace-detection solution for the MSSTs. The result, Fido Scout, has now moved from development to field testing and is receiving positive reviews.

MSST operations require wide-area explosives detection capabilities so many approaches to maritime explosives detection, such as the use of canines and technologies like ion mobility spectroscopy, do not work effectively.

Fido Scout is an enhanced version of the existing Fido-XT, which will remain on the market as a leader in handheld explosives detection. As with the Fido-XT, the Fido Scout is user friendly, light-weight and portable. Enhancements include a simple, four-button interface allowing for quick operability, as well as a rugged exterior for use in maritime environments, including submersion. Field testers have positively cited Fido Scout’s ease of use, durability, and adaptability to differing conditions.

ICx Fido explosives detectors utilize proprietary amplifying fluorescence polymers (AFP: 23.35, 0.63, 2.77%) to detect trace levels of explosive materials in parts-per-quadrillion (ppq), a level of detection comparable to that of highly trained, explosives-detection canines. “Achieving this gold standard of detection in a package that meets the demanding requirements of the MSST represents a significant milestone for the Fido Scout,” said Matthew Dock, senior systems engineer for the Explosives Detection Unit of ICx Technologies.

RTAP has nearly two dozen products in various development stages — from explosive, chemical, and biological countermeasures to IT, electronics and hardware, and cyber-security — but the Fido Scout is the first RTAP product to move into field testing. Full-scale production is set to begin early in 2008.

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