High contrast sensitivity (0.2%) and high throughput for aircraft inspection is obtained in a large area, real-time/near real-time system. X rays originate in the source, which is modelled upon the cathode ray tube. Magnetic deflection coils cause electrons to sweep in a raster pattern across the high z target of a broad anode plate. The resulting microfocus x rays scan across a specimen placed in close proximity -- typically 1 inch or less -- to the large source. A computer synchronizes the beam sweep, the detector readout rate, and the monitor sweep. Digital output from the detector unit allows the system to display first generation images, without recourse to an image intensifier or vidicon.