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An operator demonstrates the Handheld Imaging Tool for nondestructive inspection of aircraft structural integrity in the field. Photo courtesy of Sensor Concepts​​

​The Air Force Research Lab demonstrated a new lightweight scanner for the nondestructive structural testing of advanced aircraft, announced lab officials. The Handheld Imaging Tool replaces a 1,200-pound scanner with a seven-pound handset and 11-pound backpack. The tool enables aircraft maintainers to conduct structural testing in the field, according to AFRL. With the radar-based system, a single maintainer can scan and analyze an entire aircraft's surface as much as 12 times faster than a two-man team using the current system, states the lab’s late February release. Sensor Concepts of Livermore, Calif., developed the tool under a small-business-innovation contract and successfully demonstrated the scanner at Eglin AFB, Fla., late last year. AFRL last fall issued the company a $9.7 million low-rate initial production contract for an operational version of the system. (See also Sensor Concepts’ factsheet and the LRIP contract description in the Defense Department’s Sept. 24, 2014, list of contract announcements.)​​