NBCRV Sensor Suite Upgrades Draw Praise from CBRN Stakeholders

In February of this year leaders and stakeholders turned out to view the highly anticipated Stryker Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV) Sensor Suite Upgrade program demonstration at the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center. 

The NBCRV demonstration provided a first look for many at the brand new suite of chemical sensors deployed on the NBCRV, a huge leap forward in terms of capabilities for not only the vehicle but for CBRNE Soldiers tasked with operating and carrying out missions using the NBCRV. 

“We’re not writing about the future, we’re not thinking about the future, we’re building the future,” Lt. Col. Jeffrey Strauss of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND), Joint Project Manager for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance (JPM NBC CA) said during his opening remarks to the audience of more than 50 people. 

Currently, CBRN Soldiers investigate potential CBRN threats at close range from a slow-moving or completely stopped vehicle, sometimes directly exposing the vehicle to the threat in order to conduct sampling and often creating an easy target for the enemy. It was clear to many in the Science and Technology (S&T) community, the CBRNE community and the Army that the NBCRV had opportunities for modernization. 

“This capability is meant to operate outside the threat,” Scott Kimmel, Deputy Commandant of the U.S. Army CBRN School said. “NBCRV has to operate with a cavalry squadron because the days of the NBCRV being left in the rear of the fight are over.” 

The sensor package upgrade consists of six sensor capabilities. 
1. The Deep Purple Unmanned Aerial Vehicle equipped with the Array Configurable of Remote Network Sensors flies sensors into a chemical cloud for interrogation. 
2. A Joint Chemical Agent Detector automatically detects, identifies and alarms to chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemical vapors.
3. A standoff detector called the improved Mobile Chemical Agent Detector detects, identifies and maps chemical weapon vapors. 
4. The Vehicle Integrated Platform Enhanced Radiation Detection, Indication, and Computation is the NBCRV’s internal point sensor and is specifically tailored for mounted operations in radiological-nuclear environments. 
5. The Mounted Enhanced RADIAC Long-Range Imaging Networkable (MERLIN) system, which is comprised of two subsystems that are complementary but work independently of each other, MERLIN-Imager (MERLIN-I) and the MERLIN-Applique (MERLIN-A). MERLIN-I enables stationary standoff radioisotope detection and MERLIN-A consists of four sensors mounted on the corners of the NBCRV, enabling moving standoff detection.
6. The Chemical Sensor Detector analyzes ground liquids using a laser and spectrometer and is deployable on-the-move. 

In May, a team of operators will showcase the NBCRV’s capabilities at the Joint Warfighter Assessment 2019 in Washington state.

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