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US military troops typically rely on mostly large devices and alarms that scan a wide area for chemicals and alert entire units of a local chemical hazard. The Army doesn’t have the protection of an individually worn sensor. This is a serious problem as the detector does not cover large areas and is impractical to use on missions such as foot patrols.

Teledyne FLIR has won a $4.0 million five-year contract to develop the first mass-wearable chemical detector for U.S. troops under the Pentagon’s Compact Vapor Chemical Agent Detector (CVCAD) program.

The new, lightweight CVCAD sensor will provide individual protection for every warfighter, particularly all U.S. Soldiers and Marines conducting ground operations. 

The unique device uses a dual-sensor to detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, as well as flammable gases and enriched or depleted oxygen levels that may indicate an explosive atmosphere.

The wearable chemical detector will warn Soldiers and Marines of immediate danger. It will determine whether the air is safe to breathe and if troops can fire their weapons without concern for the explosion, especially in confined spaces. The sensor can not only be attached to clothing but also integrated into an unmanned aerial system for remote reconnaissance, according to inceptivemind.com.