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Tyndall is first Air Force base to use new x-ray system for vehicle inspections

The U.S. Air Force announced Tyndall AFB in December because the first base to use a new x-ray system for quicker gate security checks of incoming vehicles. Photo by Taylor Koopman/USAF
The U.S. Air Force announced Tyndall AFB in December because the first base to use a new x-ray system for quicker gate security checks of incoming vehicles. Photo by Taylor Koopman/USAF

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A new x-ray scanner taking only two minutes to inspect an incoming commercial vehicle is in use at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., the U.S. Air Force announced.

The first Mobile Vehicle Access Control Inspection System, or VACIS M6500, of the Air Force was deployed in mid-December and significantly reduces the time it takes to inspect a vehicle arriving with construction supplies.

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The base is being rebuilt in a five- to seven-year plan after it was devastated by a 2018 hurricane.

"Compared to the traditional search method, the number of vehicles we can analyze now is unparalleled," Senior Airman Norman Shoemake of the 325th Security Forces Squadron said in a press release on Saturday.

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"The image from the x-ray will allow us to quickly and efficiently scan for any anomalies, ensure the correct number of passengers are in the vehicle and confirm there is nothing in the cargo that should not be there," Shoemake said.

The $2.2 million portable X-ray gate, delivered Dec. 21, is an improvement over the current 15-minuteprocess of inspection, officials said.

Previously, the inspection process involved opening all compartments in a vehicle and manually searching the vehicle before it could enter the installation.

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"It can be stressful because you have no idea what you are potentially walking into," Senior Airman Qwuantez Harris of the 325th SFS said.

"Now we have a complete visual of the vehicle, something we've never had before, and a much more in-depth analysis of the situation," Harris said.

The VACIS M6500 is an element of preparing Tyndall Air Force Base as the Air Force "Installation of the Future."Tyndall in November also became the first base to use autonomous ground vehicles, described as robotic walking security dogs.

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Another program, a drone-based perimeter security system, is undergoing testing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

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