Bomb detection that works at a distance and can pinpoint threats unobtrusively in masses of people: NATO, together with five of its biggest members plus Russia say they have developed a new system.
With the release of video of secret testing at a commandeered underground location in a European capital, officials said the Stand-off Detection of Explosives and Suicide Bombers system (STANDEX) “could help NATO allies and Russia prevent terrorist attacks”.
A project leader said that with STANDEX deployed, the attacks on Madrid, Moscow and London public transport users might have been prevented.
Pierre Charrue referred to bombings in 2004, 2005 and 2010: “At that time, critical infrastructure for transport – mass transport in particular – was protected much less effectively than air transport. NATO, specifically the NATO-Russia Council, decided to develop technologies to protect this type of infrastructure.”
Work on STANDEX was launched in 2010.
The new system finds both the suspect and the position of any suspicious material on one body among many – say subway commuters. A series of detectors analyses all data gathered.
Senior engineer Mikhail Korolev said: “This is a really interesting example of international cooperation; the terrorist threat is not just local, for one country or region to handle; it’s a worldwide problem. We need to put together all the ‘good’ forces of society in order to solve it.”
STANDEX uses microwaves to detect significant molecular structures in moving crowds.
The project is co-sponsored by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Turkey, and the United States put up the €4.8 million first phase funding for the combined Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Russian new standoff technology.