ChemImage Sensor Systems (CISS) has been selected to work alongside other companies on the US Army's next-generation chemical detector (NGCD) programme.
Managed by the joint project manager for nuclear, biological and chemical contamination avoidance (JPM-NBC-CA), the programme aims to develop a portable system for the detection and location of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) on environmental surfaces.
Under the project, CISS will initially configure and test its existing portable hyperspectral imaging technology for the detection of CWA.
The company will then advance the development of the system through brassboard and final prototype stages, which will help the JPM-NBC-CA to determine whether the programme is sufficiently mature for a milestone B decision.
CISS business director and chief scientist Matthew Nelson said: "Recent events have shown us that CWA are still a very real threat in our world.
"CISS is excited about working with the US Army to provide handheld instruments that dramatically lessen the warfighter impact of these terrible weapons of mass destruction."
CISS project manager Charles Gardner said: "We welcome the opportunity to show how hyperspectral imaging can perform reliable CWA detection and location with the goal of saving lives."
The US Government is expected to rigorously evaluate the CISS system in each phase to ensure that it addresses the relevant requirements.
The NGCD programme will develop three variants, including a handheld aerosol-vapour, handheld liquids-solid, and a portable variant, including all phases of matter.
As well as CWAs, the NGCD system is expected to support the detection of toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), and non-traditional agents (NTAs), in support of the chemical biological radiological nuclear (CBRN) defence programmes.