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21 April 2011

Smiths Detection, a division of global technology business Smiths Group, has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for developing the LCD (Lightweight Chemical Detector) which protects tens of thousands of soldiers worldwide against chemical warfare agents.

The Smiths Detection plant in Bushey, north of London, which designs and assembles the LCD series, won in the Innovation category of the annual UK award. It employs around 300 people.

Not much bigger than a man’s hand, the LCD can be easily held or clipped to a belt. It continually samples the air and can detect minute traces of a range of chemical agents and toxic industrial chemicals in less than 10 seconds. It is designed for use in the harshest of battlefield conditions and runs for almost two days on standard batteries.

Stephen Phipson, CBE, President of Smiths Detection, said: "This prestigious award recognises the achievement of a highly skilled and committed workforce who have set the gold standard for advanced protection against chemical warfare agents."

The LCD can also act as a screening and survey device and is used by forces around the world including British, US, Canadian, Australian and Norwegian. Smiths Detection has introduced a range of improvements and accessories to the LCD series over the past four years and the US military has deployed some 57,000 LCDs, of various models, in its ongoing JCAD (Joint Chemical Agent Detector) programme.

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