US Army to get first personal wearable chemical detector
Intelligent sensing technology company Teledyne FLIR has been awarded US$4 million in initial funding by the Pentagon to develop the "first mass-wearable chemical detector for U.S. troops."
Chemical weapons and similar hazards are an everyday concern of military operations. Not only do soldiers need to train extensively on how to carry out their duties while wearing protective suits and wielding decontamination gear, they also need increasingly sophisticated detection equipment to locate and identify chemical threats.
Current detectors are still relatively large and heavy, which means that these detectors are designed to protect whole units instead of individual soldiers. This is a problem because it's hard for a detector to cover large areas, and they're not practical to use on missions like foot patrols.
The wearable detector, which can also be installed in a drone, that Teledyne FLIR is developing as part of the Compact Vapor Chemical Agent Detector (CVCAD) program uses dual sensors to detect not only chemical weapon agents, but also toxic industrial chemicals and flammable gases.
In addition, it can measure oxygen levels that are too high or too low. The latter is important because unusual oxygen levels can indicate that the air isn't safe to breathe, suggest the presence of explosives or that it isn't safe to fire weapons in a confined space for fear of an explosion.
The present five-year contract with Teledyne FLIR includes a one-year first phase, a 10-month second phase, and two optional follow-on phases.
"This is an important effort for our nation’s chem-bio defense program as toxic weapons represent a serious, growing threat to our military personnel," says Roger Wells, VP and general manager of Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions at Teledyne FLIR. "Putting a wearable CVCAD sensor on all war-fighters will offer an unprecedented level of chemical threat awareness, enabling them to perform their primary mission with far greater safety.
"The award underscores our expertise in intelligent sensing, unmanned systems, and other mission-critical technologies Teledyne FLIR delivers to safeguard lives."
Source: Teledyne FLIR