Biological Detection


The M31/M31A1 Biological Integrated Detection System (BIDS) mitigates the effects of biological warfare attacks during all phases of a campaign. As a corps-level asset, it is employed by a dedicated biological defense company to detect large-area biological attacks. The BIDS network provides the basis for warning and confirming that a biological attack has occurred. The system provides presumptive identification and produces a safety-configured sample for later laboratory analysis.

The M31/M31A1 detection system is made up of a shelter (5788 lightweight multipurpose shelter) mounted on a dedicated vehicle (M1097 heavy Humvee) and equipped with a biological detection suite. The systems include a trailer-mounted 15kilowatt generator (PU-801) to provide electrical power, a global positioning system (GPS) receiver (AN/PSN-11 PLGR), tactical and long-range communications equipment (SINCGARS and Harris HF radios) and a meteorological sensor.

The BIDS program development was initiated following the Persian Gulf War. To fill the urgent need for a biological detection system while at the same time fielding mature technologies, an evolutionary acquisition strategy was developed. Initially a nondevelopmental item (NDI), BIDS (M31), consisting primarily of off-the-shelf instrumentation, provided a limited manual detection and identification capability. This was followed by a preplanned product improvement (P^sup 3^I) BIDS (M31A1) with an expanded and semiautomated detection and identification capability. NDI BIDS was fielded in 1996 and the P^sup 3^I BIDS in 1999 to reserve and active component units, respectively. Integration of the joint biological point detection system on a BIDS platform is currently in progress to provide a fully automated, broad-spectrum biological detection and identification capability by 2003.

BIDS uses multiple complementary technologies to detect various characteristics of a biological aerosol attack. BIDS integrates aerodynamic particle sizing, luminescence, fluorescence, flow cytometry, mass spectrometry and immunoassay technologies in a hierarchical, layered manner to increase detection confidence and system reliability. BIDS detects all types of biological agents and identifies specific agents of interest. The system can be easily upgraded or modified to identify other additional agents, based on changes in threat conditions. NDI BIDS will detect biological warfare agents in less than 15 minutes and identify any four agents, simultaneously, in less than 45 minutes.

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Biological Detection
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