Airport security has changed quite drastically over the last few years..
Last week, American Science and Engineering Inc. announced that it landed a five-year contract with Al Najaf International Airport in Iraq to provide its scanning technology. However, financial terms are not disclosed yet.
Joe Reiss, AS&E's vice president of product management and marketing, told The Sun that the deal is significant because it "validates our value proposition for providing a combination of detection technologies."
Reiss said airport security has traditionally been about "checkpoints," or screening the baggage of would-be passengers, and not about the airport itself as a facility.
Under the contract, AS&E will provide one of its hulking Z Portal cargo screening systems, which will be used to scan vehicles as they enter the airport property. It offers multi-view, drive-through screening for left, right, and top-down imaging of cars, vans, trucks and their cargo.
"Our Z Portal has been used extensively for border security and high-threat facility applications," Reiss said. "Well, now airports are now considered high-threat facilities."
The company would also offer several of its Gemini parcel-inspection systems, which will be used to scan baggage both outside and inside the airport.
Reiss said, "As a business, we've had a good amount of gear deployed with the military and so on."
"This allows us to increase our commercial presence." Najaf is a city of about 1 million people that's about 100 miles south of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
In a statement, Sheikh Faed Al-Shimary, director general of the Najaf Airport Authority, said, "Passengers and freight forwarders are increasingly turning to Najaf Airport for their international air travel and shipping requirements."
It added, "We chose AS&E's comprehensive detection solutions because they provide rapid inspection of vehicles and carry-on luggage in a high-security and high-traffic environment while ensuring the flow of passengers and commerce -- and because it is well-known in our region for delivering exceptional, responsive customer service."
AS&E is headquartered at 829 Middlesex Turnpike, where the majority of its 300 or so employees work. It reported fiscal 2015 revenues of $126.8 million. Shares closed Friday at $27.20, up 5 cents.