Smiths Detection to Deliver Next-Gen Chemical Sensors for British Military

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded Smiths Detection an 88-million-pound ($107.6 million) contract to develop and deliver next-generation chemical sensors for the British armed forces.

The project supports the UK’s effort to modernize its military’s chemical detecting capabilities, sustaining awareness over numerous hazardous materials and ensuring immediate action to protect defense personnel as well as civilians.

Protection From Existing, Future Threats

Under the contract, the company will supply three types of chemical sensing solutions.

Articles include a wearable personnel sensor providing constant monitoring near the user’s vicinity, a portable survey sensor for scanning potentially toxic areas or surfaces, and a remote-capable standoff sensor for fixed locations.

All chemical agent sensors will incorporate Smith Detection’s proprietary Ion Mobility Spectrometry detection and identification based on the company’s Lightweight Chemical Detector family of “advanced, easy-to-use” devices.

Chemical agent sensing device
Chemical agent sensing device. Photo: UK Defence Equipment & Support

The detectors will be operational by 2028 following the order’s completion, with work for the contract taking place in Hemel Hempstead, England.

“Since our business inception, nearly 70 years ago, we have been designing, developing, manufacturing, and servicing chemical sensing technology,” Smiths Detection President Roland Carter said.

“This technology protects defence forces, including the UK MoD, and communities from known and emerging threats.”

“This award is testament to our leading technology and the knowledge, commitment and ingenuity of the people in our organisation who everyday help to make the world a safer place.”

A First for British Military

Through the contract, the British joint forces will receive their first sensors capable of detecting multiple chemical threats from vapors and aerosols, the UK MoD wrote.

“It’s vital we protect our Service Personnel, and this cutting-edge technology is so important to reduce the threat posed by toxic chemicals across a range of environments globally,” UK Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge stated.

“Not only is it an impressive piece of equipment that will be designed and manufactured here in the UK, but the ability for it to be continually developed and improved is exactly how we want Defence procurement to be – deliverable, effective and ambitious.”

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