Accelerator competition: finding explosives hidden in electrical items

Key Features

£3 million available for research funding in this Defence and Security Accelerator competition for the future of aviation security solutions programme.

Programme:     Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme

Award:     TBC

Opens: 20th Oct 2017

Closes: 17th Jan 2018

! This scheme is now closed

This Defence and Security Accelerator (Accelerator) themed competition seeks to make a real difference in aviation security through innovative science and technology. The competition is looking for proposals for technologies to improve the ability to prevent explosives hidden within electrical items in hand luggage from being taken on board an aircraft.

In March 2017, the UK introduced a ban on large electronic devices in the cabin of UK-bound aircraft from certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Restrictions like these are of great concern to the aviation industry, and equally to passengers. Prohibiting passengers from travelling with electronic items can have a huge impact on personal and business activity.

As part of an effective, efficient and passenger-friendly screening system this competition is seeking new solutions that could provide an alternative to imposing bans on electrical items or additional laborious screening measures

Through this competition the Department for Transport (DfT) want to continue to improve their detection capability, reduce the risk of restrictive measures being imposed in the future and reduce the need for additional layers of security.

This competition has 2 challenges which seek to enhance the detection of threats hidden in electrical items:

  • at central search
  • at a final departure screening point, where there are significant constraints on size, weight, power and portability


For both challenges, the Dft are not just looking for solutions to detect concealed explosive devices/components. They’re also interested in solutions to identify electrical items that may have been tampered with, or which appear to be out of the ordinary. This could allow them to focus the more resource intensive detection techniques on a smaller number of items.

Full details of the competition, including technology readiness level (TRL) entry points, will be available when the competition document is published on 20 October 2017.