Vendors Vie for Chem-Bio Defense Dollars
Kennedy, Harold, National Defense
A number of new technologies were on display in Tampa, Fla., at an industry iconference hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command. Here is a sampling:
The Hawk Long-Range Chemical Detector--made by Bruker Daltonics, of Billerica, Mass.--can detect chemicals up to five kilometers away, said applications chemist Richard Crowley. The Hawk's sensor has a passive infrared detector, which identifies the characteristic "fingerprint" signatures of chemical agents. It can monitor all known chemical-weapon agents and toxic industrial chemicals.
The Hawk can be installed as a stand-alone device or placed in a ground vehicle, aircraft or ship. It also can be mounted on a tripod for use in the field, Crowley said.
Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion--a product of O'Dell Engineering Ltd., of Puslinch, Ontario-will remove and destroy military chemical agents on contact, said the firm's president, Philip C. O'Dell.
The lotion comes in individual-use pouches. It is a liquid skin decontaminant that breaks down chemical agents such as sarin or VX in seconds, leaving a non-toxic liquid that can be washed away with water, O'Dell said.
The lotion is approved and is fielded with the armed forces of Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and Australia. The Food and Drug Administration approved the lotion's use within the United States, and O'Dell has a contract with the Defense Department to provide it to first responders.
The Draeger Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus-Extended Duration is a modular combination of a standard SCBA and a powered air-purifying respirator, explained John W. Kenneweg, business development manager of Draeger Safety Inc., of Emmitsburg, Md.
Standard SCBAs provide only 60 minutes of breathing time, Kenneweg said. The SCBA-E "could allow first responders to work for hours" in contaminated environments, he said.
Draeger has been working with the U. …