Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NIITEK), a subsidiary of the Chemring Group, has received a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for development of a new method for detection of hidden explosives in the battlefield.
Secured along with NIITEK's academic and small business partners, the $2.13m contract forms part of the agency's methods of explosive detection at standoff (MEDS) programme, which focuses on the production of novel sensors for detection of unique signatures of buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Chemring Sensor and Electronics president Juan Navarro said: "Although the work in this programme is intended to be proof-of-principle experimentation, NIITEK and its partners are confident that, with proper development, the technology can be transitioned into a system that could prove useful to both the Department of Defense, as well as domestic security and law enforcement."
Specifically, MEDS programme seeks proof-of-concept demonstrations of non-contact methods and technologies for rapid and precise detection of IEDs buried inside opaque substances with high water content, including mud, meat or animal carcasses from standoff distance, resulting in enhanced troop safety.
To safeguard the operator's health, the techniques are required to be developed without ionising radiations, and detect, but not necessarily image the IEDs located at a depth of 5cm or more.
Evaluation of the proposed techniques is expected to be based on the anticipated trade-off between image fidelity and radiation output.
The programme's period of performance will last for 18 months, which include one year base period for research, development and capability demonstration, and a six-month option for follow-up reproduction and evaluation of successful capabilities at various US Government laboratories.
Image: US Marines destroy an IED cache in an abandoned compound in Southern Shorsurak, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy Sgt Mark Fayloga.