Army signs agreement to roll out new biological agent detector

Defense contractor General Dynamics and the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center have signed an agreement to work in tandem to roll out a new biological agent detector for commercial use.

The Armament and Technical Product division of General Dynamics signed the cooperative research and development agreement last week. A patent license deal was also signed with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological center at that time.

The agreements will allow the federal government and industry to collaborate in the further development and commercialization of a low-cost, low-power, lightweight technology call the Tactical Biological Detector, or TAC-BIO for short, that uses semiconductor ultraviolet optical sources for reagentless detection of biological aerosols.

“The commercialization of the TAC-BIO will make the device widely available to detect biological warfare threat agents to protect warfighters on the battlefield, first responders and civilians at home,” ECBC Technical Director Rick Decker said in a statement. “Collaboration between ECBC and General Dynamics will get this government-created innovation to the end-user much faster than we can using traditional means.”

The ECBC began work on the TAC-BIO seven years ago with a team of scientists and engineers led by David Sickenberger.

“When we initially began the TAC-BIO program seven years ago, the goal was to exploit semiconductor ultraviolet optical sources being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency as the enabling means of achieving a revolutionary new bio detection device that required no consumables and maintained a credible core detection capability,” Sickenberger said in a statement. “Today, we have achieved these goals and created a prototype that is ready for transition to the industrial sector.”