Engineers develop, test rapid nerve agent detectors
January 8, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- U.S. Army engineers are creating and testing a new technology to detect and classify nerve agent in minutes.
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center engineers Jim Genovese and Robin Matthews and contractor Kwok Ong earned a patent for the Rapid Agent Identification of Nerve Agent detector in late 2011.
ECBC is developing the detector for the Joint Project Manager for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance.
The detector's technology is modeled after the M256A1 and Chemical Reconnaissance, Explosive Screening System. The Department of Defense uses the previous detectors to provide chemical vapor detection capability at low cost, minimal training and without the need for a power source. Capitalizing off these earlier designs saved money.
"Now that we have a customer to make this for, we have two main updates that we are trying to make to the original RAIDON," said Genovese, Innovative Development Engineering Acquisition Team leader. "The initial RAIDON technology simply identified the difference between VX and GB nerve agent. Now, we are trying to get the detector to decipher between the entire range of nerve agents and include thiophosphoric pesticide and carbamates."
As the group perfects the detector during testing, it has enlisted the help of several other teams, making this a directorate-wide effort.
The group is working with the Protective Factor Testing Chamber Branch for testing and the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Division for the injection molding and rapid prototyping.
The participation from the other branches helps propel the effort, allowing the RAIDON to be ready for the PM transition, and ultimately, be deployed to the Soldier. Genovese expects the group will have an initial prototype to send to the program manager by early 2013.
"Luckily, since the directorate has become a one-stop shop, we can do all of this work in-house with a rapid turnaround," Genovese said.
The colorimetric technology used in the RAIDON saves time, allowing the group to focus on the science and meet their deadline. Since the technology capitalizes on a method that is already established, all that remains is testing and packaging.