Around the world, metro stations, airports and other places of transit and gathering have been the target of terrorist attacks that have caused deaths and damaged infrastructure. As part of the DEXTER programme, which focuses on the detection of explosive ordnance and firearms in the fight against terrorism, NATO has developed a prototype intended to counter the threat that firearms and explosives pose to crowded places. After research carried out for three years with the sponsorship of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme, the prototype was successfully tested for a month in a Roman metro station, in Italy.
On May 24 and 25, 2022, representatives of industry and relevant public authorities were invited to attend as observers a simulation in real conditions, and to reflect on the possibilities of commercialization of the DEXTER device.
The three technologies developed as part of this work will make it possible to instantly and remotely identify people carrying firearms or explosives among crowds. The device will make it possible to go even further than the systems in place and to detect these threats discreetly, without having to carry out random checks on passengers or resort to checkpoints. The DEXTER device combines technologies in a system that can be equipped with additional detectors according to the needs related to the evolution of threats.
“The DEXTER program has developed a solution that combines counter-terrorism and advanced technologies in support of NATO’s strategic objectives and priorities,” said NATO Assistant Secretary General for emerging security challenges, Mr. David van Weel. The DEXTER facility is an important deliverable of NATO’s Counter-Terrorism Action Plan. Based on the latest advances in sensors, detection and artificial intelligence, this device is a perfect example of the use that NATO intends to make of emerging and disruptive technologies.
“If such a result could be obtained, it is not only thanks to scientific and technological know-how, but also thanks to the strong cohesion between the partners and a common desire to better protect citizens against attacks such as those that ‘we have known,’ said Mr. Gilberto Dialuce, President of the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). Eleven public bodies and research institutions from four NATO countries (France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) and four Partner countries (Finland, Republic of Korea, Serbia and Ukraine) participated in the DEXTER programme.