An American company Teledyne FLIR has won a $4.0 million contract to develop the first mass-wearable chemical detector for U.S. troops under the Pentagon’s Compact Vapor Chemical Agent Detector (CVCAD) program.
So far, the Army doesn’t have the protection of an individually worn sensor. It typically relies on mostly larger devices and alarms that scan a wide area for chemicals and alert entire units of a local chemical hazard. And this is a serious problem as the detector does not cover large areas and is impractical to use on missions such as foot patrols.
The new, lightweight CVCAD sensor will provide the benefit of individual protection for every warfighter, particularly all U.S. Soldiers and Marines conducting ground operations. The unique device uses a dual-sensor to detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, as well as flammable gases and enriched or depleted oxygen levels that may indicate an explosive atmosphere.
The wearable chemical detector will warn Soldiers and Marines of immediate danger. It will determine whether the air is safe to breathe and if troops can fire their weapons without concern for the explosion, especially in confined spaces. The sensor can not only be attached to clothing but also integrated into an unmanned aerial system for remote reconnaissance.
“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,” said Roger Wells, VP, and general manager of Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions at Teledyne FLIR. “Putting a wearable CVCAD sensor on all warfighters will offer an unprecedented level of chemical threat awareness, enabling them to perform their primary mission with far greater safety.“
The five-year contract consists of a 12-month first phase, a 10-month second phase, plus two follow-on options.