Scanner looks through visitors' vehicles
Bagus BT Saragih
The Jakarta Post
All vehicles entering the Nusa Dua complex in Bali, where most of the venues of the APEC Summit are located, might not be aware that security personnel have just scrutinized almost everything inside their cars or motorcycles, including the contents of their pockets.
Military Mobile Vehicle and Cargo Inspection Systems (VACIS) is one of the most advanced security technologies provided by the Indonesian Military (TNI) deployed to ensure that no explosives slip between the cracks.
'This equipment is far more accurate than an inspection mirror or manual sight checking,' Second Lt. Rendy Daniel from the TNI combat engineering detachment (Zipur), who is in charge of the inspection vehicle, said.
'This system is also time-efficient because it can conduct a scan while the vehicles are moving,' he said, adding that the machine was stationed 24 hours a day at the complex's main entrance.
The system was made by the US-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and has superb imaging ability that allows operators to search vehicles and cargo for threats, contraband as well as other suspicious items from outside.
According to SAIC's official website, the machine can penetrate up to more than six inches of steel, meaning that it has the ability to scrutinize a large container.
The large green vehicle parked next to the Nusa Dua complex's main entrance consists of a detector array mounted on a rugged vehicle platform, a truck made by US-based Navistar International.
One of its two scanning pads are positioned on the other side of the road using a long moveable arm.
Any vehicle that goes through the entrance passes between the two pads, which then sends gamma ray imaging to a screen inside the vehicle's cabin.
The time needed to deploy the arm was only about 15 minutes after the system was parked, Rendy said.
'The time needed to pack the
deployed arm is also about 15 minutes. After that, we can move quickly to other places where it is needed,' he said.
'There are two TNI personnel on standby in the cabin to continuously watch the inspection,' Rendy said.
'If the system detects something suspicious, it will alarm the operator, who will then alert officers outside to stop the suspicious vehicle for further inspection.'
It can detect weapons, explosives and other suspicious objects that could pose a threat to the annual summit, according to Rendy.
As of Thursday, no vehicles had been detected as suspicious by the system, he added.
Operators of the system were specially trained by SAIC trainers from the US.
Lt. Gen. Lodewijk Freidrich Paulus, commander of the APEC Summit's joint security operation, said the mobile VACIS was one of the TNI's most sophisticated technologies thus far. 'It just arrived some weeks ago,' he said.
He, however, said that he did not know how much the equipment cost and if it was procured using the state budget.
Rendy, however, said that he heard the price tag of the mobile system was approximately Rp 30 billion (US$ 2.61 million) and that the one being used at APEC was the only one the TNI had. Lodewijk said he did not know if the force had planned on procuring more mobile VACIS systems.
A moving scan can also be carried out where the mobile VACIS system moves past stationary vehicles, quickly scanning them from bumper-to-bumper.
The Finance Ministry also operates three older versions of the mobile VACIS system, which are used to inspect cargo at the country's major ports.
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