Leidos has received a prime contract to develop advanced protective equipment under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Personalized Protective Biosystems (PPB) programme.

The PPB programme seeks to reduce the weight of the current personal protective equipment (PPE).

Through the latest three-phase, five-year cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, Leidos will develop a technology that helps in reducing the user’s protective equipment burden.

The technology will also offer increased protection against existing and future chemical and biological (CB) threats.

The contract has a cumulative value of $19.3m.

Leidos chief technology officer Jim Carlini said: “Leidos thrives at tackling the world’s toughest challenges; in this case, protecting frontline personnel against emerging threats with a revolutionary approach to personal protection equipment.”

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DARPA’s PPB programme is aimed at improving stability and provide flexibility for field-forward individuals. It addresses the national need for lightweight and adaptive PPE for military and healthcare workforce.

The challenge was highlighted recently at a global level due to the ongoing pandemic.

Under the latest order, Leidos is launching Smart Protective Integrated Dynamic Ensemble for Reactive, Multifaceted Agent Neutralization (SPIDERMAN) platform.

This technology, which enables CB threat protection, comes as lightweight protective materials and tissue-protective countermeasures.

Leidos PPB team executive biology director and principal investigator John Dresios said: “Leidos has assembled a world-class team and is proud to lead the execution of this revolutionary programme.

“SPIDERMAN has the potential to deliver transformative advancements that will provide broad and specific, as well as rapid and sustainable protection against chemical and biological threats.”

Last month, the US Army contracted Leidos to support the Army Geospatial Center’s (ACG) High-Resolution Three Dimensional, (HR3D) Geospatial Information Operation and Technology Integration programme.