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1. the future of aviation security
This Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) themed competition seeks to deliver a step change in aviation security through innovative science and technology. The competition seeks new technologies that will improve the ability to prevent the widest possible range of explosives, weapons and other threats being taken on board an aircraft.
Your proposal must be received by CDE by 5pm on Thursday 19 January 2017. Your proposal must be submitted to CDE online.
The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office (HO) established the joint Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme as part of a commitment made in the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 to double spending on aviation security. This programme will invest £25.5 million over the next 5 years to promote innovation and deliver a step change in aviation security. It will focus on novel solutions to prevent the widest possible range of explosives, weapons and other threats being taken on to an aircraft.
The UN Security Council Resolution 2309 expresses “particular concern that terrorist groups are actively seeking ways to defeat or circumvent aviation security, looking to identify and exploit gaps or weaknesses where they perceive them” and stresses “the need for international aviation security measures to keep pace with the evolution of this threat”. It calls on States to “strengthen security screening procedures and maximise the promotion, utilisation and sharing of new technologies and innovative techniques that maximise the capability to detect explosives and other threats”.
This CDE themed competition will help deliver on the calls for action made in the UN Security Council Resolution 2309, and will form one part of the FASS programme seeking novel technologies to enhance threat recognition while minimising the inconvenience to those being screened and those carrying out screening.
Currently the aviation industry uses a range of x-ray technologies and explosive trace detection to screen passenger hand baggage; walk-through metal detectors, security scanners and explosive trace detection to screen passengers and staff; and multi-level (x-ray, trace and manual) systems to screen hold luggage and cargo. Any security concerns identified are cleared or escalated through human intervention.
The aviation industry has to balance keeping costs low and throughput high, whilst providing appropriate protection of people and assets, including through compliance with government regulation on transport security. Alongside these priorities, it’s also key that customers experience a simple, non-intrusive journey through airport security.
As the aviation sector continues to expand, the threat to the aircraft continues to evolve. This competition seeks to help the government, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and aviation industry to continue improving aviation security processes by staying ahead of evolving threats and maintaining a high level of confidence in threat detection.
The UK prohibited items list varies for hand baggage and hold baggage. These lists catalogue the baseline for aviation threat detection.
This competition seeks to make a positive impact on the government’s priority to create a safer, more secure and sustainable transport system for all.
3. Technology challenges
Through this CDE competition, we want to develop innovative solutions for preventing the widest possible range of explosives, weapons and other threats being taken on board an aircraft. Although traditional screening concepts may play a role your ideas shouldn’t be limited to these technologies.
We want to identify novel ways of providing assurance that passengers, staff, hand baggage, hold baggage and cargo don’t pose a security threat to the aircraft. Proposals do not need to be constrained by current aviation security regulations, though they should make clear any potential regulatory impacts.
Threats to be prevented include all types of explosive (commercial, military and homemade) and incendiary devices; and weapons (guns, knives). In the past adversaries have used both simple and complex concealments to try to bypass security. Ideally we want new capabilities to prevent the widest possible range of entire threat items and important component pieces from being taken on board an aircraft. We want a capability to be able to detect the widest possible range of threats and concealments.
We intend to fund a range of ambitious and innovative projects that aim to achieve Technology Readiness Level(TRL 4) in the first phase of this competition. We plan to take forward a number of the most successful projects into phase 2 where they will be developed to TRL 6.
3.1 Challenge 1: screening individuals and their hand baggage
This challenge seeks original and innovative ideas that will continue to prevent threat items concealed about a person or in hand baggage from being taken on board an aircraft. For this challenge, threats to consider are weapons, explosive and incendiary devices (including component parts/materials).
Aviation security processes currently require a range of items to be removed or separated from an individual and baggage for effective screening to take place. The removal of items from a person (jackets, belts, shoes, pocket contents etc) not only causes inconvenience to the travelling passenger, but also increases the number of trays that are put through baggage scanners, placing additional burden on operators.
Through this challenge we’re looking to reduce the inconvenience this places on passengers and staff, increase the speed of the screening process and reduce the cost to airports.
All current systems aim to screen as high a proportion of baggage as possible with the most sensitive machines. Current screening technology is required to meet a regulated standard but for this competition we’re seeking a fresh approach in detecting the widest range of explosive and incendiary devices, with the highest possible probability of detection. Therefore we’re not looking for your proposal to meet the current standards.
We’re also looking to reduce false alarm rates to enable human intervention to be focused on investigating genuine concerns. Intervention is currently carried out through a manual searches and explosive trace detection.
Current UK/EU cabin baggage Explosive Detection Systems are defined by four standards – C1, C2, C3 and C4. The current standards all require automatic detection of explosives:
- C1 all electronic items and liquids need to be removed from bags
- C2 laptops and large electronic items can stay in bags but liquids need to be removed
- C3 and C4 everything can stay within the bag
We are only interested in looking at systems that could offer part of, or an important step towards C3. We’re not interested in a solution where large electronics and liquids have to be separated from hand luggage.
We’re looking for proof-of-concept proposals for solutions which improve aviation processes through maximising:
- reliability and confidence - in the detection of concealed threats, particularly in complex and cluttered situations, for example a person who is carrying hand baggage containing several electronic devices and liquids
- throughput levels - improving the speed of staff and passenger screening
- customer experience - reducing the intrusiveness and inconvenience during security screening (for example removal of pocket contents, compliance with large electronics and liquids policy and intrusive body and bag searching)
- cost benefits – reducing costs, both purchase and operation of security screening permits more people to be screened. Operating costs may include power, consumables, training, maintenance, calibration. Weight and size of technologies also play a crucial part in aviation security procurement
We’re interested in novel staff training technologies and techniques to further increase reliability at the manual checking stage of the screening process.
We’re also looking for proposals that address flexible, light-weight and portable screening which could be deployed in temporary situations, such as for “at gate” security, which is still necessary in some situations. Solutions should ultimately lend themselves to occasional use, without significant maintenance, calibration or consumable burden.
3.2 Challenge 2: screening cargo and hold baggage
This challenge seeks original and innovative ideas that will continue to prevent explosives being taken on to aircraft via cargo and hold baggage, while improving volume and speed of throughput and providing cost effectiveness. For this challenge, threats to consider are explosive and incendiary devices.
Existing Hold Baggage Systems (HBS) for security screening are multi-stage systems. They maximise throughput levels by using automated x-ray systems to screen simple, non-cluttered baggage/containers for explosive and incendiary devices. All other baggage which can’t be screened using this method is progressed and enters stages of screening such as visual x-ray screening, manual searching and trace detection.
All HBS systems aim to screen as high a proportion of baggage as possible with the most sensitive machines. Current screening technology is required to meet a regulated standard but for this competition we’re seeking a fresh approach in detecting the widest range of explosive and incendiary devices, with the highest possible probability of detection and lowest possible false alarm rate. Therefore we’re not looking for your proposal to meet the current standards.
Cargo can be divided into 2 categories:
- fast parcels (for example international courier consignments) which are similar to hold baggage in terms of size
- general cargo which can include a wide variety of items typically shipped as pallet or container loads, up to several cubic metres
Cargo security is also a multi-stage system which maximises throughput by using x-ray systems to screen non-complex containers for explosive and incendiary devices. Cargo which can’t be screened using this method because of its size, density or complexity is, again, progressed to manual hand search, metal detection, canine screening and explosive trace detection.
By its nature, air cargo is dependent on fast delivery times, cargo is sent by air because it is time critical. The speed of screening systems therefore is important. Where baggage and cargo of concern undergoes further screening, it has the potential to cause delays which can increase costs. This competition seeks solutions to speed up the screening process and reduce delays and costs to the airport and logistics companies.
We’re also looking to reduce false alarm rates of the screening systems to allow manual checks to focus on investigating genuine concerns that are identified. Manual checks are currently carried out through a baggage search by hand, explosive trace detection and the analysis of X-ray images.
We’re looking for proof-of-concept proposals for solutions that help improve existing aviation processes through maximising:
- reliability and confidence - in the detection of threats, particularly through the ability to screen dense goods and small areas of high density in large consignments
- throughput levels - improving the speed and volume of baggage and cargo security
- improved automation - reduce false positives and the need to manually break down containers and baggage
- cost benefits - reducing cost (purchase, maintenance and operation) of security screening.
Due to the physical limitations of airports, weight and size of equipment also plays a crucial part in aviation security
We’re also interested in novel staff training technologies and techniques to further increase reliability at the manual checking stage of the screening process.
4. What we want
In this CDE themed competition we’re looking for ambitious and innovative proposals to develop to TRL 4 at the end of phase 1. Where possible you should state clearly the expected timescales for technology maturation through to a capability that could be used.
New solutions should help to prevent the widest possible range of explosives, weapons, and other threats against the aircraft.
At the end of phase 1, successful projects will be asked to demonstrate proof of concept of their technology to gain support from important stakeholders, and explain their proposed approach to transition the concept to a mature operational solution.
We’re interested in projects that consider a system approach, including the ability to integrate with other technologies in the system. However, we don’t expect you to be able to provide a whole solution at phase 1. Your proposed technology could offer part of, or an important step towards, the solution to the challenge. We’ll encourage you to collaborate in any follow-on phase-2 projects.
Where possible you should use open source, not bespoke, systems architecture to maximise potential for integration with current systems.
We will consider proposals for research into novel applications of existing technologies.
5. What we don’t want
For this competition we’re not interested in proposals for:
- paper-based studies or literature reviews
- solutions that don’t offer significant benefit to security
- incremental improvements
- projects that only offer a written report – we’re looking for a practical demonstration
- projects that can’t demonstrate feasibility within the phase 1 timescale
Work is being conducted in a number of related areas under other Government programmes, the following are therefore out of scope for this competition:
- demonstrations of off-the-shelf products
- mitigation of Cyber-attacks
- mitigation of collisions, deliberate or otherwise, with an external object (for example drones)
- the import or export of banned or controlled substances
- mitigation of attacks in crowded places such as at check-in areas
- projects that only consider safety requirements rather than security for example safety of carrying lithium batteries
This CDE themed competition will form one part of the FASS programme and there will be other funding opportunities which will span the Technology Readiness Level Scale. These opportunities will be open to all UK-based and international bidders.
Whether your proposal integrates with existing (or near-to-market) technology, or develops a technology that leads to completely new systems, it’s important that you describe your exploitation path in relation to this, and demonstrate how your technology will deliver a step-change in aviation security.
All projects funded at phase 1 of this competition will be expected to take part in a number of events together with the other funded organisations. These events will provide an invaluable opportunity to meet other participants and discuss potential collaboration, with the intention of enabling viable system demonstrations at the end of the phase-2 activity. You should cost attendance at these events into your proposal.
The first one-day event will take place in April/May 2017 in London where you will have the opportunity to meet the other project teams that were successfully funded at phase 1 and start to develop a collaborative community. You’ll be expected to give a short presentation (just a few slides) describing your project, what you hope to achieve during phase 1 and outline what you think your phase-2 work will look like. We’re really keen to promote collaborative bids for phase 2 so that you consider how your technology needs to integrate with other solutions to deliver a final system and therefore increase the exploitation potential of your solution. This event will be attended by Department for Transport, Home Office - Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (HO - OSCT) and Dstl as well as other potential phase 2 collaborators. These potential collaborators could be from industry and academia and will have been identified as having a potential to increase the likelihood of achieving successful outcomes of the phase 2 work.
At the end of phase 1, successfully funded projects will be asked to demonstrate their proof-of-concept solutions (TRL 4) at a one-day stakeholder event in September 2017 in London (venue to be confirmed). This is to allow wider exploitation through the Department for Transport, the Home Office - Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (HO - OSCT), Dstl and other government departments. Bidders should cost attendance at this event into their proposals. At this event there will be an additional opportunity to gain support from important industry stakeholders such as airport operators and airlines, as well as selected international partners (for example US and other international governments). This will provide an important opportunity to maximise awareness of the projects in a wider market and increase the potential for exploitation.
As a deliverable of the phase-1 project, successful bidders will also be expected to produce a phase 2 proposal by end October 2017, submitted via a closed competition on the CDE online submission service.
We aim to take forward a number of the most successful outputs from phase-1 projects for phase-2 funding. Only bidders funded at phase 1 qualify for entry into phase 2 of this competition where up to an additional £1 million of funding will be made available. Phase-2 funding will be awarded on a per-project basis in December 2017. Phase-2 projects can last up to 12 months.
At the end of phase 2, successfully funded projects will be asked to provide a demonstration of a technology model or prototype in a relevant environment (TRL 6). Details will be available before the phase 2 competition opens so that you know what’s expected before you submit your proposal.
7. Important information
Your proposal must be received by CDE by 5pm on Thursday 19 January 2017. Proposals must be submitted to CDE online.
We won’t accept proposals over £100,000 and it’s more likely at this stage that a larger number of lower-value proposals around £40,000 to £80,000 will be funded than a small number of higher-value proposals. Total funding available for phase 1 of this competition is up to £1 million.
Phase 1 proposals must focus on a short, sharp, proof-of-concept phase with research lasting up to 6 months in duration for delivery by the end of September 2017. Final reports and phase 2 proposals must be submitted by the end of October 2017.
Phase 1 proposals should include a descriptive scoping for a longer programme (phase 2 onwards) of any duration, but the proposal should be clearly partitioned with a costed proof-of-concept stage, which is the focus of this CDE themed competition.
Full-rights outputs of funded work may be exposed to international government partners. This is to promote international collaboration and to give projects the best chance of exploitation through exposure to a larger scope of international aviation requirements. This will only be done under the protection of existing intergovernmental memoranda of understanding.
Proposals will be assessed by subject matter experts from the HO, DfT, Dstl and other government departments. Read about how your proposal is assessed.
The FASS team will be available to provide advice and/or guidance via an appointed technical partner throughout the project and provide the interface with HO, DfT, Dstl and the wider government stakeholder community.
Deliverables from contracts will be made available to the HO, DfT or Dstl technical partners assigned to each proposal and subject to review by relevant government departments.
8. Materials of concern and use of simulants
All work must be undertaken legally and safely, therefore, for the purposes of this phase 1 competition, we anticipate that you will use simulants in place of materials that are not legal or safe to work with. Simulants are materials that mimic dangerous and prohibited materials sufficiently, in order to demonstrate your discoveries and developments. You must clearly state the simulants against which you will demonstrate your solution’s benefits wherever they are required. Where simulants are proposed/used, explanations should be provided of why the particular simulant has been chosen.
If you have the appropriate equipment and licences to use the dangerous and prohibited materials themselves, you may plan to use these in phase 1. You must provide evidence of your licences and equipment in your proposal document. Unless sufficient evidence is provided it may not be possible to contract the work.
9. Ethical considerations and The Regulation of Investigatory Power Act (2000)
9.1 MOD Research Ethics Committees
All research involving human participation conducted or sponsored by any government department is subject to ethical review under procedures outlined in Joint Service Publication 536 ‘Ministry of Defence Policy for Research Involving Human Participants’, irrespective of any separate ethical procedures (eg from universities or other organisations). This ensures that acceptable ethical standards are met, upheld and recorded, adhering to nationally and internationally accepted principles and guidance.
The following definitions explain the areas of research that require approval:
- clinical: conducting research on a human participant, including (but not limited to) administering substances, taking blood or urine samples, removing biological tissue, radiological investigations, or obtaining responses to an imposed stress or experimental situation
- non-clinical: conducting research to collect data on an identifiable individual’s behaviour, either directly or indirectly (such as by questionnaire or observation)
All proposals must declare if there are potential ethical issues.
Securing ethical approval through this process can take up to 3 months. In this CDE themed competition, projects must be completed by the end of October 2017 and obtaining ethical approval could take your proposal beyond the timeline for completion of phase 1. We, therefore, recommend that you only include research in phase 1 that doesn’t require ethical approval. Work that might require ethical approval should be planned for future phases of work which are likely to have longer and more flexible timescales.
However, if you think that your phase-1 proposal may require ethical approval, please ensure that you adopt an approach in your submission as follows (noting that projects must still complete by the end of October 2017):
- milestone 1: gaining ethics approval for the project, including delivery of the research protocols (the protocol will need to be detailed by completing the ethics application form)
- milestone 2: proposed research that will be carried out subject to gaining ethics approval (optional phases to be formally invoked, where appropriate)
A contractual break point must be included after milestone 1.
The requirement for ethical approval isn’t a barrier to funding; proposals are assessed on technical merit and potential for exploitation. Successful proposals will be supported through the ethical review process; however, an outline of your research methods must be included in your proposal to help this process.
9.2 The Regulation of Investigatory Power Act (2000) considerations
The Regulation of Investigatory Power Act (RIPA) is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, regulating the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, and covering the interception of communications. You should ensure that your proposal or the work you’re proposing to undertake doesn’t cause a breach of these regulations.
|17 November 2016||Competition briefing at Innovation Network event|
|23 November 2016||Webinar|
|19 January 2017||Competition closes at 5pm|
|Mid- March 2017||Contract placement initiated and feedback provided|
|April/May 2017||Collaboration event (location TBC)|
|September 2017||Stakeholder demonstration event (location TBC)|
|29 September 2017||Completion of phase 1 research|
|27 October 2017||Phase 2 competition closes|
|December 2017||Phase-2 funding decisions made|
|January 2018||Contract placement initiated and feedback provided|
11. Queries and help
While you’re preparing your proposals, you can contact us if you have any queries:
Capacity to answer these queries is limited in terms of volume and scope. Queries should be limited to a few simple questions or if provided with a short (few paragraphs) description of your proposal, the technical team will provide, without commitment or prejudice, broad yes/no answers. This query facility is not to be used for extensive technical discussions, detailed review of proposals or supporting the iterative development of ideas. While all reasonable efforts will be made to answer queries, CDE and Dstl reserves the right to impose management controls when higher than average volumes of queries or resource demands restrict fair access to all potential proposal submitters.
General queries should be sent directly to CDE at: firstname.lastname@example.org