Smiths Detection & Block MEMS to Develop Non-Contact Chemical Detection Device for U.S. DoD

Smiths Detection, alongside Block MEMS, has been selected by The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Defense to develop a Proximate Chemical Agent Detector (PCAD) capable of non-contact detection of solid and liquid threats. PCAD will provide a stand-off (non-contact) Chemical Agent Detector that will be able to identify/classify solid and liquid hazards on various surfaces. Hazards include Chemical Warfare Agents, Toxic Industrial Chemicals, Non-Traditional Agents, opioids, and explosives.

Smiths Detection has a proven track record of advancing chemical detection capability for the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD), having recently secured a contract to deliver an Aerosol and Vapor Chemical Agent Detector (AVCAD). Smiths Detection also supports the DoD’s Joint Chemical Agent Detector Program, with the development of the Solid Liquid Adaptor which will extend both capabilities and the lifecycle of fielded systems.  

Block’s best in class quantum cascade lasers (QCLs), which will make up the core technology in the PCAD, have been developed over the past ten years with over $30 million in funding from the U.S. government. Block incorporates its QCLs into chemical detection systems for safety and security applications and supplies its QCLs to OEM partners worldwide.

The PCAD program, with a total contract value over $38 million, involves five phases of research and development over seven years and will be conducted between Smiths Detection’s U.S. headquarters located in Edgewood, MD and Block headquarters in Southborough, MA.

“Our deep expertise and experience in research and development programs and our ability to deliver finished products, alongside Block’s leading technology, make us uniquely positioned to deliver the most advanced chemical detection technology to the U.S. military helping them mitigate future threats,” said Inder Reddy, president of Smiths Detection.

Daniel J. Cavicchio, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Block, said: “We are pleased to be incorporating our next generation QCLs into PCAD to support our Armed Forces. The Block/Smiths Detection team provides all the skills and capabilities required to make this effort successful.”