Block MEMS has secured a $5.5M contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity to continue working on a technology designed to detect chemical warfare agents, illegal drugs and explosives.
The company said Tuesday it aims to produce a standoff chemical detector with an automated processing technology under the third phase of IARPA’s Standoff Illuminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures program.
Accoridng to Block, it has secured $15.1M in funds since the program's inception and is the only participant to win the SILMARILS Phase III contract.
During the first two phases of the project, the company examined the potential use of quantum cascade laser technology and was able to trace chemicals on different objects within seconds from up to 25 meters away.
Work under Phase III will focus on developing the technology for the detection of harmful chemicals on moving objects from a steady position or stationary objects from a moving military conveyor. The technology is also intended to perform scans from 16 feet away or examine vehicles and clothing from 98 feet away.
“The ability to detect most chemicals, including CWAs, Explosives, and Pharmaceutical Based Agents at these standoff distances is addressing a strong need within the Intelligence Community, the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security,” said Anish Goyal, vice president of technology at Block and the company’s principal investigator for this project.
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio executed the contract.