Smiths Detection & Block MEMS to develop non-contact chemical detection device for U.S. Department of Defense

Smiths Detection Inc., a global leader in threat detection and security technology, alongside Block MEMS, LLC (Block) 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.

Commenting on the contract, Inder Reddy, President of Smiths Detection Inc., said: “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.”

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.”


About Smiths Detection

Smiths Detection, a division of Smiths Group, is a global leader in inspection and detection technologies for the air transport, ports and borders, armed forces and urban security markets. With more than 70 years of experience in the field, we offer the necessary solutions to protect society from the threats posed by explosives, prohibited weapons, contraband, toxic chemical agents and narcotics.

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About Block MEMS

Block and its affiliate Block Engineering are leading suppliers of Quantum Cascade Laser-based products. With over 15 years of experience developing and manufacturing mid-infrared QCL systems, Block’s technologies are used in the transportation security, defense, critical infrastructure protection, medical device, and health care industries. Block’s QCL lasers are ruggedized for integration into a wide range of applications, including trace-level standoff detection of explosives and narcotics as well as wide area detection of toxic gases, including chemical warfare agents, in critical infrastructure.

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