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1 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Explosives disseminate simulated chemical agent at a test grid on Dugway Proving Ground, during the 2014 S/K Challenge. The towers at left contain Dugway instrumentation that provides accurate data against which participants measure their technology'... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – John Gomes, test officer with West Desert Test Center's Special Programs Division at U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. Gomes stands before the Active Standoff Chamber (left) and Joint Ambient Breeze Tunnel. Both test facilities will be used duri... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A participant in the 2014 S/K Challenge secures a portable chemical agent detector to a fixture, prior to the release of a chemical simulant. Outdoor testing realistically challenges a detector's capabilities, providing data to defend against a real ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A European scientist adjusts a biological agent detector prior to a night release of simulant during the 2014 S/K Challenge. Biological attacks by terrorists or rogue nations would likely be at night, to prevent pathogens from being killed by sunligh... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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5 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Dugway optical technician prepares a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera that will track a release of simulated biological agent at night. Dugway provides its referee data to participants, to compare against their own data. (Photo by Al Vogel / ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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6 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Soldier in the Army Chemical Corps points to a cloud of simulated agent onscreen, during the 2014 S/K Challenge. Observing how the disseminated simulant moves and spreads is enlightening, especially to a Soldier trained to respond to chemical ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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7 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Simulated biological agent is disseminated inside the 550-foot-long Joint Ambient Breeze Tunnel to defense technology at the other end, in this 2015 photo. Within a short distance, biological or chemical agents become unseen but remain deadly threats... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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8 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The 440-foot-long exterior of the Active Standoff Chamber contains a 110-foot-long chamber that holds airborne simulants in place with "walls" created with downward air. The air won't interfere with the laser beam of standoff detectors that detect fr... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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9 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Monitoring a simulant release at a massive outdoor grid during the 2015 S/K Challenge. The third S/K Challenge, hosted by Dugway Proving Ground, will be Aug. 15-26, 2016. Data and experience accrued at S/K Challenges helps defend the U.S. and its all... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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10 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – During each S/K Challenge there is a V.I.P. day, where participants display and explain their technology, and Dugway demonstrates some capabilities. Here, a remotely controlled robot takes surface samples from around a vehicle "contaminated" with a s... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah -- The word's out globally: to learn how effective a chemical or biological threat defense technology is, bring it to Dugway this August for S/K Challenge III.

For the third year, Aug. 15-26, S/K Challenge offers an opportunity for foreign, U.S. government, military and private industry to challenge their defense technologies with simulated threats for two weeks, at a fraction of a full test. To date, 28 different U.S. agencies and eight foreign countries have registered for the event, a significant increase over the past two S/K Challenges.

Essentially, Dugway disseminates chemical or biological simulants to replicate an attack or incident, while participants operate their defense technologies to track and identify the simulated threat. Unlike testing, Dugway does not collect data from the participant's technology -- only participants see their data.

During each release, Dugway collects data such as simulant type, amount released, wind speed, temperature, concentration of the simulant at various distances, etc. The data goes through a validation process called "refereeing."

S/K Challenge costs participants significantly less than testing because costs are shared with other participants: one simulant release serves many. Since Dugway never possesses participants' data it avoids data validation and doesn't write a test report.

"Cost sharing allows for significant savings," said John Gomes, test officer for West Desert Test Center's Special Programs Division. "We also provide all participants a complete data package, including all the data from the Dugway referee systems. The participants can use the Dugway data package for comparison to the data their technologies collected."

Two different types of detectors are tested during S/K Challenge. Point detectors warn when they directly encounter agent. Standoff detectors use laser technology to detect from afar, without being exposed to the threat they detect.

The week of Aug. 15-20, releases are at two specialized structures: the Active Standoff Chamber and Joint Ambient Breeze Tunnel. The 440-foot-long exterior of the Active Standoff Chamber houses a 110-foot-long chamber containing a biological simulant, held in position with air downdrafts. Large doors, opened at both ends of the structure and chamber, allow the distant laser to pass through to detect the simulant. Unlike containment by glass or plastic, air downdrafts don't affect the laser beam.

Nearby, point detectors are placed inside the 550-foot-long Joint Ambient Breeze Tunnel. Powerful fans draw outside air into the tunnel, where a simulated threat is released to waft over the point detectors and challenge them.

In the second week, Aug. 22-26, releases are at a fully instrumented, massive test grid. A variety of methods, including explosives, are used to disseminate chemical or biological simulants. The large grid allows the simulant cloud to drift naturally, tracked and analyzed by point and standoff detectors.

S/K is short for the Greek phrase Sophos Kydoimos -- "Wisdom over the din of battle." It's a fitting phrase for chemical and biological detectors, who must wisely identify a specific threat within harmless microbes, chemicals, smoke, dust, scents and other interferents that confuse detectors or produce false alarms.

Participants benefit from Dugway's expertise; the 800,000-acre Army post in northwestern Utah has tested chemical and biological defenses since founded in 1942. Beyond testing their technologies, participants will also meet other chemical and biological defense experts from around the world.

"Participants will have the chance to meet with industry, international and government organizations throughout this event," said Gomes.

Related Links:

Dugway Proving Ground

S/K Challenge III

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