SAIC wins U.S. Customs VACIS contract

Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego announced Oct. 17 that it won a contract from the U.S. Customs Service to provide preventive and corrective maintenance and support for its Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System units throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

The contract is for one year, with an option for four years. It is worth $46.5 million if all options are exercised, according to the company.

The Customs Service has used the VACIS technology for four years to reduce smuggling of contraband across international borders. Under the new contract, SAIC will ensure the equipment is working optimally, said Stephen Rockwood, SAIC executive vice president and manager of the company's Advanced Technology and Analysis Sector.

Since July 1999, the U.S. Customs has awarded SAIC a series of contracts for various configurations of SAIC's VACIS. The Mobile VACIS is a truck-mounted gamma-ray imaging system designed to non-intrusively inspect trucks, containers, cargo and passenger vehicle contents for explosive devices and/or contraband. The Mobile VACIS can be deployed with a two-person crew in about 15 minutes, can be quickly moved and can scan a moving or stationary 40-foot container in less than 10 seconds, according to SAIC.

VACIS' early success as a tool to inspect stationary thick steel-walled tanker trucks for illegal drugs has expanded its use to a wider range of vehicles and cargo containers, according to the company. With VACIS, operators can view the gamma-ray images on a computer monitor to identify false walls or ceilings and other secret compartments typically associated with the transportation of drugs, explosives and weapons. Operators searching for stolen or smuggled goods can use the VACIS images to determine whether the cargo is consistent with the declared manifest.

SAIC has annual revenue of $6.1 billion and more than 40,000 employees at offices in more than 150 cities worldwide.

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