The US Army has awarded nuclear technology company Phoenix to continue its neutron radiography (N-ray) technology development.

Under the $10m indefinite-quantity, indefinite-delivery (IDIQ) contract, the company will work towards demonstrating N-ray and X-ray techniques for munitions inspection.

These techniques will help maintain and ensure the quality of ammunition, armaments, or components of weapons and defence systems.

The contract will also involve the development of software packages for easy identification of defects and to assess the quality of integral parts.

Additionally, Phoenix will conduct training programmes to introduce and accustom army personnel with the practical applications of the technology.

Standards for the radiography will be developed by working closely with experts of the subject and American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).

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Phoenix president Evan Sengbusch said: “With the increasing complexity of future defence systems, a variety of inspection tools will be needed to continue to meet the challenge of providing safe and effective assets for the warfighter, and Phoenix’s transition from the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contract to this new contract vehicle represents an important stepping stone in the technology development roadmap.

“This IDIQ contract gives us the ability to work on advanced non-destructive testing (NDT) projects across the Department of Defense, opening the door for advancements in quality assurance, research and development, and failure analysis.”

N-ray is an NDT technique that detects flaws in missile payloads, ejection mechanisms and other critical components without the need to dismantle the product.

This provides unique information to the personnel and saves a significant amount of time and resources.

Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan have helped secure the federal funding for this contract.

Baldwin said: “I’m proud to have helped secure additional federal funding to continue the army’s investment in neutron radiography technology.

“This new contract highlights Phoenix as a global leader in neutron generation and applications, and I’m pleased to support their continued partnership with the army, which leverages and grows our skilled STEM workforce in Wisconsin while supporting American service members.”