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17 August 2006

SMITHS Detection, part of the global engineering business Smiths Group, has been selected by the U.S. Armys Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center to supply the Lightweight Chemical Detector (LCD) for use with a new advanced reconnaissance robot.

Under the CBRN Unmanned Ground Reconnaissance Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program, the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center will fit iRobot PackBot robots with the Smiths Detection LCD. The LCD can detect a wide range of chemical warfare agents including nerve, blister, blood and choking agents.

The new robots, which will be known as the CBRN Unmanned Ground Vehicle or CUGV, recently completed technical demonstrations at Aberdeen Proving Ground. They will be evaluated by soldiers of the 95th Chemical Company, US Army Alaska, at Ft Richardson and Elemdorf Air Force Base in September. If it is determined that the CUGV robot has military utility, it will be retained by the 95th Chemical Company in Alaska for two years.

Stephen Phipson, Group Managing Director of Smiths Detection, said: Smiths Detection is proud to provide our lightweight chemical agent detectors for the new advanced CUGV. The CUGV gives soldiers the option to send a robot in first, providing vital threat detection before humans are put into a dangerous situation.

The CUGV is designed to inspect potentially hazardous areas that other tactical vehicles cannot access. Using Smiths Detections LCD, the sensor payload can detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Additional sensors can detect oxygen levels, lower explosive limits and gamma radiation. The robot will then send data back to other manned systems or a command post, allowing soldiers and first responders to stay out of harms way. In addition, the CUGV is capable of collecting samples for further analysis.


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