US-based aviation security technology provider L-3 has apparently made a $315 million offer for MacDonald Humphrey Automation in a move intended to add more checkpoint automation to its existing technology fleet.  This comes on the heels of L-3’s October announcement of its $117.5 million purchase of Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) technology manufacturer Implant Sciences.  The L-3 announcements follow April 2016 news regarding Smiths Group’s acquisition of Morpho Detection from parent company Safran Group.

What do these recent acquisitions show us?  The big players in aviation security are betting on airports’ interests in a single technology provider at checkpoint. Whereas experts have long foreseen vendors rounding out their detection technology suites over time, the recent MacDonald Humphrey acquisition shows that they’re also looking to add automation and networking to the package. One might see checkpoint “skin” (i.e. look/feel) as the next step?  Or manpower?

Whether manufacturers offering airports a single touch point for the sale of checkpoint technology will result in more durable products, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), more innovative financing models, and faster R&D remains to be seen.  At a minimum, data integration and visualization solutions by product suite are surely to improve.

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