Teledyne FLIR has been contracted to develop the first mass-wearable chemical detector for US troops.

The company will develop the chemical sensor under the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Compact Vapor Chemical Agent Detector (CVCAD) programme.

Teledyne FLIR received $4m in initial funding and the five-year contract comprises a 12-month first phase and a ten-month second phase. The contract also has two follow-on options.

With the new lightweight CVCAD sensor, each troop, especially US soldiers and marines conducting ground operations, will benefit from individual protection.

CVCAD is a ‘programme of record’, which is funded and jointly managed by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office, and by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological and Radiological/Nuclear Defense.

It is the fourth instalment in the Next Generation Chemical Detector (NGCD) series of programmes that aim to field a family of improved chemical detectors to US Joint Services.

Teledyne FLIR unmanned systems and integrated solutions vice-president and general manager Roger Wells said: “This is an important effort for our nation’s chem-bio defence programme as toxic weapons represent a serious, growing threat to our military personnel.

“Putting a wearable CVCAD sensor on all warfighters will offer an unprecedented level of chemical threat awareness, enabling them to perform their primary mission with far greater safety.

“The award underscores our expertise in intelligent sensing, unmanned systems, and other mission-critical technologies Teledyne FLIR delivers to safeguard lives.”

For Pentagon’s CVCAD, Teledyne FLIR will produce a dual-sensor device that can detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals.

The device can also detect flammable gases and enriched / depleted oxygen levels, which may indicate an explosive atmosphere.

It will warn soldiers and marines of immediate danger and alert them if the air is safe to breathe.

The detector will also determine if the troops can safely fire a weapon without concern for explosion, especially in restricted spaces.

Furthermore, it can be integrated on an unmanned aerial system (UAS) for remote reconnaissance.

Earlier this year, Teledyne Technologies signed a definitive agreement to acquire FLIR Systems in a cash and stock transaction valued at nearly $8bn.

Last month, Teledyne Technologies completed the acquisition of FLIR Systems.