Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘CBRNE’ Category

Accelerator for Innovative Minds (AIM) Genomic Non-Specific Operational Matchmaking Enabled Systems (GNOMES)

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

SOFWERX, in collaboration with the USSOCOM, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Accelerator for Innovative Minds (AIM) Genomic Non-Specific Operational Matchmaking Enabled Systems (GNOMES) Team, will host an Assessment Event (AE) 09-10 July 2024 to provide awareness of biological agents/compounds in a far forward, resource-limited environment.

AIM is a collaborative initiative led by DoD in the CWMD and CBRNE space. The goal of AIM is to demonstrate an enduring Hybrid Accelerator model in coordination with Industry, non-traditional partners, and SMEs to develop technology, build networks/relationships, and develop processes targeting specific Warfighter problem spaces as identified by AIM government collaborators. AIM requests information from Industry, Academia, Laboratories, and non-traditional partners on approaches, products, and/or services to support CWMD technology requirements. Once these are reviewed, the collaborative DoD group intends to align transition pathways across the full technology maturation spectrum.

The Chemical and Biological Defense Program’s vision through AIM is to identify capabilities which provide insight of chemical and biological (CB) contested environments. The objective is to develop a system with maximum utility for the warfighter to overcome current limiting factors in providing awareness of biological agents/compounds in a far forward, resource-limited environment.

Submit NLT 09 June 2024 11:59 PM ET.

Details here.

Avon Protection Awarded UK MoD General Service Respirator Contract Worth Up to £38m

Friday, May 10th, 2024

The contract will see Avon Protection continue to supply and support the General Service Respirator (GSR) for all branches of the UK military’s forces from its facility in Melksham, Wiltshire.

9 May 2024, Melksham, UK: Avon Protection, the leader in innovative CBRN personal protective equipment, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the continued supply of the General Service Respirator (GSR) and associated in service support contract by the UK Ministry of Defence.

The contract, over four years, with five further 12-month option periods is valued at up to £38 million.

The twin-canister, single-visor GSR is the standard issue respirator for all UK service personnel across the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Designed and manufactured to the UK MoD’s precise specifications, it provides high-performance filtration protection for users operating in CBRN threat environments.

Avon Protection was first awarded the contract to supply and support the GSR in 2018. Since then, it has supplied over 90,000 GSRs to UK MoD users from its facility in Melksham, Wiltshire. This new contract will sustain many highly skilled jobs at the Melksham facility as well as in the supply chain that is primarily based in the United Kingdom – ensuring the nation maintains sovereign CBRN protection capability through domestic production and R&D.

“We are proud to have secured this new contract with the UK MoD, reaffirming our commitment to providing sovereign capability and unparalleled protection for those who tirelessly defend our nation,” Steve Elwell, President of Avon Protection, said. “We remain dedicated to delivering excellence so our protectors can complete their mission and come home safely, every time.”

“We welcome the award of this contract, which will ensure continued support of the respiratory protection available to our armed forces. We have worked with Avon on supporting GSR for the past 6 years and look forward to continuing this relationship, offering high levels of protection to our troops across the world,” Richard Bloomfield, Head of Electronic Warfare and CBRN at Defence Equipment and Support, said.

“This award demonstrates the strength of our technology and our commitment to protecting those who protect us by providing a world-leading sovereign CBRN protection capability from our facility in Wiltshire,” Jos Sclater, Chief Executive Officer, Avon Protection plc, said. “As we have seen with the reported deployment of chemical agents in Ukraine and in other recent conflicts, the highest grade CBRN protection is critical to operational capability for warfighters in the evolving reality of near-peer, hybrid warfare.  We are very proud to have won this tender with the UK MoD and to continue support the UK’s objectives of providing the highest quality, most reliable and trusted protection equipment for our service men and women.”

Kromek Shows the Value of Innovation and R&D to Demonstrate New Capabilities at International Events and Win Further Orders

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

Kromek, the designer and manufacturer of radiological and biological detectors, based in Sedgefield Co. Durham, premiered its “remote mode” for its ground-breaking D5 RIID at Security & Policing held in Farnborough, UK, in March 2024.

The D5 RIID is the most sensitive portable detector produced by Kromek. Its “remote mode” allows it to becarried by an uncrewed ground vehicle. Its long endurance and networked capability means that it can explore potentially contaminated sites and can loiter to scan continuously for radioactive material without putting a human operator in harm’s way. Following recent research and development (R&D) initiatives, the latest technical enhancements to the D5 RIID programme were shown to senior officials in the Ministry of Defence, Police forces and first responders at Security & Policing.

Meanwhile, at the CBRNe Summit Europe in Budapest, Hungary, Mari Tuomela, Kromek’s Head of Sales (EMEA & APAC), demonstrated the D5 RIID (and its additional probe for detecting Alpha and Beta isotopes – another product of innovative R&D) with live sources. The audience was astonished at the speed of isotope identification and also that the device detected the very weakest of sources.  

Kromek’s Commercial Director Craig Duff reflects: “The evolution of the D5 RIID, with both the addition of external probes and the ability to mount the detector on an uncrewed ground vehicle for remote operation, demonstrates the benefits of continuous in-house research and development. Our products can be adapted at pace to meet the changing requirements in this complex international political and threat environment.”

Duff’s comments were reinforced by the announcement at the end of March of a further $2.1m order for detectors for the security screening market from a previous OEM customer, where joint R&D had resulted in the original contract, and by a presentation at the Waste Management Symposia 24 in Arizona, USA, on how Kromek’s CZT detectors have been adapted by researchers at the University of Bristol to be carried by drones for wide area scanning and detection.

Back in the European Union, Kromek D3S detectors were deployed in Belgium, on 9th April to secure the launch of the Festival of the New European Bauhaus 2024, at the Brussels Art and History Museum, attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and other dignitaries.


Wilcox Industries to Supply the Hybrid Patriot 5510 and BlueForce System to the Indonesian Korps Brigade Mobil Unit

Monday, April 15th, 2024

NEWINGTON, NH – In March of 2024, the Korps Brigade Mobil Unit (commonly known as Brimob), the Special Operations Unit of the Indonesian National Police (Polri), awarded a second contract to purchase Wilcox Hybrid Patriot 5510 Life Support Systems adding to the existing inventory of units already in operation. These additional units along with the units provided in previous years are all equipped with the BlueForce Tactical’s BTAC and Command Center Software System. 

The Wilcox Hybrid Patriot 5510 Life Support System is the most advanced hybrid multimode protection respiratory system available on the market today.  Originally developed and produced under a classified program by Wilcox and the US Navy in year 2000, the first generation of this hybrid system was exclusively provided to select specialty US Navy units. Following the declassification of the program shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Wilcox was able to offer this hybrid system to military and first responders worldwide. This unique hybrid configuration extends the mission profile significantly in comparison with any other product on the market today, safeguarding the end-user against any CBRN attacks on their homelands.  Wilcox partnered with BlueForce Development Group has developed a networked system that is a state-of-the-art command post which can monitor the end-user’s physiological state, the status of the system assets as the mission progresses.

The rigorous selection process and subsequent award were achieved through collaboration and support via our Master Distributor for the APAC Region, Aquaterro – Advanced Product Supplies and Indonesian In-country dealer, PT. Skotfire & Safety Technology. Manufacturing the Hybrid Patriot 5510® will take place at Wilcox’s expanding headquarters facility in Newington, NH, USA.

In response to the award, James Teetzel, CEO, of Wilcox stated, “We are very excited to learn of this contract award. Any time a customer reorders a product, it is always a strong indicator that Wilcox is providing the right product, at the right price backed by our amazing customer service team. It is great to see!”

For more information about the Hybrid Patriot 5510®, BlueForce Software and other Wilcox respirator devices, visit www.wilcoxind.com/LifeSupport . 

For information on all other Wilcox and Wilcox Products, visit Wilcox’ website at: www.wilcoxind.com  or call: 603-431-1331.

Glow Sticks – Not Just for Parties Anymore

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

UH Researcher Using Popular Party Favor to Detect Biothreats for U.S. Navy
Houston, Jan. 9 — Remember that party where you were swinging glow sticks above your head or wearing them as necklaces? Fun times, right? Science times, too. Turns out those fun party favors are now being used by a University of Houston researcher to identify emerging biothreats for the United States Navy.

It’s not the odd combination it may seem at first glance. Largely due to climate change, the environmental niches that can be occupied by threat-producing species are expanding. As environmental biothreats increase, so does their accessibility and potential concern from a biodefense perspective. Currently, there is a need to detect and diagnose certain emerging biothreats, especially in far-forward settings.

“We are for the first time applying the shelf-stable, low-toxicity, low-cost chemistry of common glow sticks to develop bright and rapid diagnostic tests called lateral flow immunoassays (LFIs) like fluorescent-dyed nanoparticles that, when exposed to glow stick activation chemicals, emit bright visible light that can be readily imaged using a smartphone or simple camera,” said Richard Willson, Huffington-Woestemeyer Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Houston. “We will adapt the technology of glow sticks widely used in military signaling applications to excite fluorescent LFI particles to increase their detectability.”

The humble glow stick

Here’s how they work: When you bend a common glow stick, it breaks a small glass container inside holding a mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide and another substance. This mix reacts with a chemical stored outside the glass, creating a new substance that is quite reactive. When it collides with special colorful dyes, it gives them energy and makes them light up.

Richard Willson, Huffington-Woestemeyer Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is adapting technology of glow sticks to excite fluorescent particles to increase their detectability for the U.S. Navy.

That’s usually the time you lose interest in them and toss them away – but not so for Willson, who has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Navy, with the future potential to receive task orders of $1.3 million, to develop improved rapid detection technology for emerging biothreats to support forward deployable testing efforts and develop high affinity reagents for the new technology. High affinity reagents are substances or molecules that exhibit a strong and specific attraction or binding to a particular target.

Accessibility of technology

The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for rapid, inexpensive and ultrasensitive immunoassays for point-of-care diagnostic applications. Lateral flow immunoassays such as the home pregnancy test and COVID-19 rapid antigen test are successfully used by untrained persons to detect medically important chemicals but have limited analytical sensitivity and typically detect only a single chemical.

“Our novel Glow LFIs are very sensitive; preliminary results for Glow LFI detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein spiked in nasal swab extract show an unoptimized limit of detection of 100 picograms per milliliter, already better than typical LFIs,” said Willson, whose research with the glow stick method also shows detection of other known biothreats.

As part of the ongoing research Willson will also develop a pipeline to produce new high-affinity reagents to be employed in these new detection assays.

University of Houston

Robot Dogs Protect Lives Through Innovation

Saturday, December 30th, 2023


 “These robot dogs not only have the potential to save Airmen’s lives, but they also serve as a reminder of how valuable your voice is, regardless of rank.”

Master Sgt. Dominic Garcia, the emergency management flight chief from the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, devised the concept of robot dogs and while he advanced his idea into building and testing the robots, he learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Garcia is originally from Denver, enlisted in the Air Force in 2006 and spent most of his career working under Air Force Global Strike Command.

In 2017, Garcia deployed to Syria from his home station at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. After returning from his deployment Garcia reflected on his time in Syria.

“I had a really hard time adjusting back, and when you’re trying to adjust back, you replay a lot of things in your head,” said Garcia. “You replay certain situations, you think; what could I have done better? What could I have done differently?”

While reflecting on his deployment he remembered seeing canine teams on some of the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear missions. He said while he considered the things he would improve; he wondered if there was a way to arm the dogs with detectors instead of sending an entire team into a potentially hazardous environment.

In 2019, Garcia was one of six AFGSC Airmen of the Year award recipients and met people from across AFGSC. His networking led to the opportunity to bring the concept of robot dogs to life through the Air Force Work Project.

AFWERX is an Air Force innovation program that connects Airmen with technology developers to turn creative ideas into a reality. While Garcia worked on his concept with AFWERX, he connected with the company Ghost Robotics who agreed to build the robot dogs.

In 2022, Garcia and his team applied for the Silver Award Grant and they were awarded 1.25 million dollars for the project. Garcia said he was delightfully surprised as he discovered opportunities and programs as he progressed in his journey to make his robot dog idea possible.

“All I knew up until 2018 and 2019 was, if you want something done, you have to wait for policy or requirements,” said Garcia. “I didn’t know that there’s this whole other side of the Air Force that allows you to fast track and get what you need, kind of at the speed of relevancy to the tactical edge.”

Once the robot parts were ready and delivered Garcia and his team assembled the parts into two user-friendly robotic canines.

The team tested the functionality of the newly assembled robot dogs before advancing to test their capabilities to tackle Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear materials incidents. The team tested the dogs’ CBRN readiness by putting them through radioactive sites at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

While it might seem odd to build expensive equipment and then immediately expose it to extreme situations, this testing is necessary. Garcia created the robot dogs to replace Airmen in life-threatening situations and withstand dangerous environments. He also armed the robotic canines with detectors capable of simultaneously detecting various threats.

Garcia and his team went to the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah to test the detectors, sensor data feedback, communication, and terrain performance.

Garcia’s focus while developing the dogs was to design equipment that could save Airmen’s lives both here in the United States and when deployed overseas. He said in addition to preventing Airmen from risking their lives, the robots could fill operational gaps and increase the manpower in hazardous specialties.

Persistent to meet these goals, Garcia and his flight continue to test the robotic canines through further research and development.

Throughout the development of his robot dog concept, Garcia discovered a new passion for empowering Airmen to share their perspectives.
He emphasized the importance of listening to and encouraging different perspectives of his teammates.

“We need to be able to say yes more and listen more,” said Garcia. “We need to be able to allow our Airmen, our sergeants, our lieutenants, whoever, to be able to give those ideas and support them because if you say no you’ll never know the return on investment. But a simple yes can have so many positive effects that we don’t even see sometimes.”

Prior to his innovative journey Garcia said he didn’t know he could come up with a concept and receive the support to make it a reality.

Going through this process opened his eyes to the value of involving Airmen at every level, encouraging them, and supporting their ideas. Garcia said that is the reason he wanted to involve his teammates in the testing and evaluation of the robot dogs.

“This is one of the few times that we get to build by the end user, for the end user. Yes, end users test certain pieces of equipment, but very rarely do they get to build it out for an entire career flow for an entire mission,” said Garcia. “That’s why I wanted to create an exposure for these guys to show them that it doesn’t matter what rank you are, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have in the Air Force, we all bring something to the table.”

One of Garcia’s flight members, Airman 1st Class Daisy Slater, an emergency management specialist from the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron, has been learning from Garcia while they work with the robot

She said she is grateful for the opportunity to work with Garcia and learn about the dog’s performance
and capabilities.

“I feel like getting to this flight, I’ve been given the opportunity to hit the ground running, so to speak,” said Slater. “There are so many NCOs and especially Airmen coming out of this flight that are making waves in the career field. And when you situate yourself next to people doing great things, it opens a door for you to also do great things.”

Garcia said he is inspired by the adaptability and eagerness displayed by the newer generation of Airmen and he hopes he has paved a path for the many Airmen who have innovative ideas.

“The robot dogs are amazing. I love them, and I believe they’re going to save lives,” said Garcia. “What we’re doing for the career field, I think is awesome because we’re the first ones in the whole emergency management career field doing this, but the more important message is, we need to be able to be more open.”

By Airman Rhea Beil & Master Sgt. Delia Martinez, 2nd Bomb Wing

Kromek Launches New Alpha Beta Probe to Upgrade the D5 RIID

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

November 22nd 2023

Kromek, the designer and manufacturer of radiation detectors, based in Sedgefield Co. Durham, today launches a new Alpha Beta probe attachment to its ground-breaking handheld D5 RIID, already the world’s most portable and sensitive handheld Gamma and Neutron detector. The probe connects directly to the D5 RIID and enables all types of isotopes to be detected by a single portable device. The upgraded D5 RIID has been proven to meet the British and US DEF-STAN and MIL-STD requirements.

This revolutionary development gives the D5 RIID a capability even superior to the ground-breaking performance available at its launch in 2021. With a small form factor, ergonomic design and easy to read graphical display, the probe can be held in one hand for prolonged scanning missions and is compact enough to be used in any scanning location. The system also has a standoff bracket, so that the detector is not contaminated by Alpha or Beta particles.

The Alpha Beta Probe front/rear

The D5 RIID can operate in different modes while scanning and monitoring all radiation types: In Search Mode, the user can view real time counts per second with Alpha and Beta counts, shown alongside Gamma and Neutron counts. In Timer Mode it is possible to see how many Alpha and Beta counts occur in a set time period. And in the Threshold setting there is a handy visual bar to see how close the current Alpha and Beta counts are to the set threshold. These thresholds can be easily changed in the device settings.

The device also allows the user to enable and disable NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) Suppression thanks to a special Kromek algorithm which allows for enhanced differentiation between normal background sources and true sources giving greater survey and reconnaissance capability. This algorithm can be enabled in the device settings, but otherwise the system defaults to a standard k sigma algorithm found in all Kromek detectors.

For additional levels of security, the user can also determine which settings on the D5 DIID are routine or restricted. Routine users can access any non-PIN protected settings, whereas authorised users have another layer of on-device customisation available with PIN protected settings.

One of the revolutionary new capabilities, perhaps the most, of the upgraded D5 RIID is the ability to set three different dose rate thresholds. The previous “High Dose Rate” setting is replaced to allow detection of low, medium and high radiation levels. Through the use of a reset button the D5 RIID can be rest in the field (or on site) rather than being brought back to a central location.

Kromek’s Product Manager Eve Paylor said: “From the outset of this upgrade we set out to keep the D5 RIID at the forefront of capability available to both the specialist and general user. Kromek believes there is a demonstrable need to detect even the lowest levels of Alpha, Beta and Gamma isotopes and neutrons in a single device to allow for rapid and accurate identification. By significantly improving the threshold capability from an already world leading position we have sought to improve operational availability and logistics and ease of use for the operator.”

“With the new Alpha Beta Probe, the D5 RIID is truly the most versatile handheld radiation detector available today. Conforming to the most rigorous British and American military, environmental and technical standards and with an exceptional degree of sensitivity and survivability, the device is suitable for use in the most challenging situations to detect all types of radioactive material. Its built-in endurance, ergonomic design and networked capability means that it is the most user-friendly device on the market. Kromek believes in constant review of our products we have to improve capability and operational utility. This upgrade does just that,” she said.

Further information is available at www.kromek.com.

Army Researchers Receive Patent for Pocket-Sized Chemical and Biological Assessment Kit

Monday, November 6th, 2023

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Army researchers have developed an innovative design for immediate on-the-ground chemical and biological assessment, giving traditional everyday laboratory equipment a new purpose for Soldiers in the field.

The invention, known as the pocket detection pouch, or PDP, was granted a patent on July 26, 2023, for its unique design that enables a one-way flow of a chemical or biological liquid sample that can be assessed and preserved in a lightweight, pocket-sized pouch.

The invention itself was deliberately designed to be “low-tech,” with the purpose to provide simple, immediate, and easily readable test results in the field while reducing the size, weight, and burden that traditional detection equipment imposes on the warfighter.

The idea for the PDP began at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center and was brought forward through the collaboration of two researchers at the organization — Ms. Kelley Betts and Dr. Jennifer Sekowski.

Betts, a research scientist and an Army wife, understood that every ounce carried by a Soldier during deployments matters, and wondered if there was a way to combine both a chemical and biological detection capability into a single, easy-to-use platform using something readily accessible — like an inexpensive plastic bag.

She decided to use her knowledge and expertise to develop a customizable chemical and biological assessment tool that was small, lightweight and could fit easily in the pocket of every warfighter. Betts developed the initial prototype in her kitchen using everyday resealable sandwich bags and a heat-sealer. “I found a way to come up with multiple individual chambers within the bag, and that’s how the one-way flow for liquids was born,” said Betts.

In this episode of CB Defense Today, public affairs specialist, Jack Bunja, interviews Doctor Jennifer Sekowski, a molecular toxicologist at the Center and inventor of the Pocket Detection Pouch (PDP), and Yusuf Henriques, founder and CEO of IndyGeneUS AI.

DEVCOM CBC Video by Ellie White

Betts then introduced the idea to Sekowski, who further helped to develop the prototype and proposed the technology to the Innovative Development of Employee Advanced Solutions program at DEVCOM CBC where she was awarded $50,000 over the span of six months to further develop the technology.

Gathering information and garnering feedback from other scientists, researchers, and warfighters within the Center allowed Sekowski and Betts to further refine their invention by increasing the size of the flap opening, reducing the size of the pouch and including a self-loading feature that allows the end user to tailor the PDP for different scenarios.

During refinement, the pair maintained the idea to reduce the burden to the warfighter by making the asset easy to use, lightweight, inexpensive, power-free with little debris footprint, and enabling the ability of containment. “It is one of the least expensive projects I’ve ever done, and one of the most successful,” said Sekowski.

The final design allows for a pouch that collects a sample into a main chamber which then flows into individual testing channels that are perforated at the bottom and housed in an external chamber. It is essentially a bag within a bag. “Other people have developed other, small form factor platforms, but in the end, we were able to demonstrate that our device is worthy of a patent because of the design,” said Sekowski.

The design has been able to gain further support and funding for production on a larger scale. The team has been able to partner with IndyGeneUS AI, a veteran- and minority-owned business dedicated to the field of medical technology, to further the development of the PDP. “We’re very fortunate that we were able to patent it and that allowed us to work with IndyGeneUS AI. They are going to help us find funding to do that engineering work to make it a commercial product,” said Sekowski.

With both the patent and partnership in place, Betts and Sekowski plan to continue developing the product further, working with IndyGeneUS AI to make the PDP commercially available. “I would like to see it in the hands of Soldiers, in the hands of people, where it can make a big difference in the world,” said Betts.

By Aeriel Storey