High-flying technology tested during 20thSC training

The ARDIMS identifies areas of interest and takes radiological sensor readings for teams on the ground.

By Jessica Maxwell

20th Support Command (CBRNE) Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md – Training with a new piece of equipment may sound run-of-the-mill but for the Soldiers of the 20th Support Command (CBRNE) Nuclear Disablement Teams, a recent training exercise was anything but ordinary.

Attached to a Blackhawk helicopter, the Aerial Radiation and Detection Identification Measurement System provides sensor readings of areas of interest and allows teams on the ground to move quickly to deemed “dirty” zones.

“Flying above an area allows us to check out a building, gather information and see if the area is clean,” said Capt. Stephan Varga, a 20th Spt. Cmd. (CBRNE) Soldier and part of the Nuclear Disablement Team.

The ARDIMS picks up neutron and gamma signals, identified by detectors located in the pods, which can be attached to any UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The sensor readings are transmitted to a laptop, which can then be read by teams in the UH-60. Quickly gathering the information from a high vantage point allows the team to narrow down the contaminated areas and work efficiently.

“We can quickly pick up information and accurate measurements,” Varga said.

Before taking off, an NDT Soldier checks each detector to ensure it is working properly and transmitting the signals. Detectors in two pods check for gamma radiation while the other two pods detectors monitor neutron radiation. By flying in a pattern similar to a lawn-mowing pattern, the team members can pick up readings from the entire area, thereby eliminating certain spots.

ARDIMS will be used in Vibrant Response, a national-level exercise which involves different agencies responding to hypothetical nuclear event. While the Soldiers from the NDTs are part of the 20th Spt. Cmd. (CBRNE), the helicopter pilots are part of a task force and are stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. and Clearwater, Fla. The aviation task force is part of the Defense CBRN Response Force mission and will also participate in Vibrant Response.

After working with the ARDIMS for the first time, Soldiers on the NDT commented on the system.

“It’s an impressive kit and a great tool to use,” said Capt. Michael Moser. “It’s a good capability to have and can be an asset to ground commanders.”

When Vibrant Response kicks off, the same members of the team will be using ARDIMS and will have new areas to monitor.

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