Government Of Canada invests in improved chemical detector training for the Canadian Armed Forces
NR - 12.250 - November 30, 2012
HALTON HILLS, Ont. - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Halton, along with the Honourable Michael Chong, Member of Parliament for Wellington-Halton Hills, today announced a contract award, on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence, and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), to improve life-saving chemical detector training for our men and women in uniform.
Patlon Aircraft & Industries Limited of Halton Hills, Ontario, has been awarded this $6.6 million contract to supply a simulator system that will be used to train Canadian Armed Forces personnel in the use of new portable devices that detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals during military operations.
“This announcement demonstrates our continuing commitment to providing our Canadian Armed Forces personnel with the equipment they need not only to do their jobs, but also to protect themselves in the often dangerous and challenging environments of modern warfare,” said Minister Raitt.
“Our Government is committed to renewing and strengthening the equipment we provide our men and women in uniform, while at the same time creating jobs across the country” said Minister Valcourt. “To that end, this contract will not only help to ensure that our troops have the most cutting-edge training technology to prepare them for operations, it will also bolster economic benefits to Canada for the years to come.”
Patlon has partnered with Argon Electronics of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, to supply Argon simulators for the Canadian Armed Forces’s new handheld, personal and fixed-site chemical detectors. Patlon will also supply Argon’s wireless virtual training system, called PlumeSIM, that electronically simulates the release of chemical agents under a wide variety of environmental conditions. Patlon will provide initial training and in-service support over the entire life of the products.
“Our Government remains focused on the economy and on protecting and creating jobs,” said Mr. Michael Chong. “This contract will support approximately 10 jobs right here in our community for highly skilled Canadians who will support and maintain the equipment over many years.”
To fulfill their mandate under the Canada First Defence Strategy to protect Canada and participate in international operations, the Canadian Armed Forces must be capable of operating in the presence of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threat. For more than a decade, the Canadian Armed Forces have been increasing their chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear defence capability by replacing aging and obsolete equipment with new technologies.
The chemical detector simulators project is one component of a much larger procurement program that is seeing the Canadian Armed Forces acquire sophisticated chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear sensors and detectors, protective equipment, reconnaissance systems, decontamination systems and new medical countermeasures that would enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’s ability to survive and operate in a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear -contaminated environment. The $85 million Chemical Agent Sensors Project is supplying the Canadian Armed Forces with modern, portable sensor systems that detect chemical warfare agents and a wide range of toxic industrial chemicals.
The Argon simulation system will allow the Canadian Armed Forces to train in the use of these new detectors without having to use any type of chemical aerosols during training, an approach that is both cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. It also allows instructors to monitor training performance electronically.
The simulation system will be used principally at the Canadian Armed Forces Fire and Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Academy at Canadian Forces Base Borden, in southern Ontario, and by chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear defence instructors at Canadian Armed Forces units across Canada.
First deliveries of the simulation system will begin in the spring of 2013, with full operational capability expected in the coming years.
Chemical Agent Sensors Project
BG - 12.063 - November 30, 2012
Enhancing chemical defence capability has become a critical operational requirement for the Canadian Armed Forces. The military is currently procuring a suite of modern chemical sensors capable of meeting current needs while being flexible enough to adapt to future requirements.
The Future Security Environment
Conflicts and instability in many countries around the world are concerns for Canada, the United States and the rest of our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. The Canadian Armed Forces 2009 report, The Future Security Environment 2008-2030 Part 1: Current and Emerging Trends notes that conflict may well emerge in regions of instability, in failed or fragile states, or between states that may choose to assert state power at the expense of regional or world peace. Due to the possibility of inter-state armed confrontation, the report recommends the Canadian Armed Forces need be prepared to address a full spectrum of conflict, ranging from conventional to asymmetric warfare with chemical, biological or radiological agents.
According to the report, the security environment of the post-Cold War era is populated by a plethora of potential threats, adversaries, traditional state actors and benign non-government organizations, as well as problematic or malignant non-state actors such as irregular forces, mercenaries, meta-nationalists, and private military firms:
Asymmetric warfare will be the tactic of choice for those who want to exploit state vulnerabilities and avoid direct confrontation with conventional armed forces and the bounds of national and international law.
Further, the increasing commercialization of weapons, including conventional, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear and novel weapons, could allow developing nations and non-state actors to acquire inexpensive and sophisticated military capabilities. Canada must be able to apply “the full spectrum of capabilities, even against non-state actors” to respond to this reality.
In addition, there is the potential for a domestic industrial accident which could lead to the release of deadly chemical, biological or radiological agents.
Over the past decade, the Canadian Armed Forces have seriously examined the issue of capability, capacity and readiness in the face of the potential threat of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack or incident. The standing up of the Directorate of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence is but one example of how the Canadian Armed Forces have placed a high priority on capability development with a view toward enabling force protection.
Chemical Agents Sensors
Historically, military forces have relied on a detect-to-protect concept for chemical defence, where basic detection technologies are used to raise the alarm when the troops are in direct contact with the chemical threat, resulting in some casualties among personnel who could not don their protective equipment in time. Furthermore, these capabilities were focused strictly on the detection of traditional chemical warfare agents - nerve and blister agents - which were considered the primary threats in the past.
Today, the Canadian Armed Forces, like other allied nations, have adopted a detect-to-warn concept that favours warning well before contact so that Canadian Armed Forces personnel can either avoid the threat or adopt the proper protective posture. As well, modern sensors can detect a wide range of toxic chemical substances, including those commonly found in industrial facilities, which can be encountered by Canadian Armed Forces personnel during their missions.
Specifically, the Canadian Armed Forces are acquiring and fielding a three-tiered detection system to be used at the personal, local and area levels. In addition to detecting chemical substances, these sensors will be able to autonomously report warnings into current and future electronic command and control systems, such as the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Sensor Integration & Decision Support System, thus enhancing the response time and minimizing the risk of undue exposure. These modern sensors will perform several functions including stand-off detection, point detection and monitoring, reconnaissance and survey, and assistance in personnel and equipment decontamination processes.
The Chemical Agent Sensors Project was established in 2002 and is currently budgeted at approximately $85 million (excluding taxes). The project is being implemented in three phases that are based on the assessed maturity and availability of commercial-off-the-shelf technologies at the time the project was created:
Phase 1 - Local Detection and Identification System
Handheld Detector: Responsive and versatile general purpose survey instruments, allowing for the detection of vapour and liquid (using the available liquid sampling accessory). The handheld detector is the primary sensor to be used while conducting chemical surveys and contamination checks. Following an open tender competition, 350 AP4C handheld detectors were procured from Proengin of France in 2007 and are now in operation. The AP4C uses a technology called “flame spectroscopy” to detect a very wide variety of substances. Furthermore, the detector has a very quick response time, which is an essential requirement when conducting contamination surveys.
Fixed-Site Detector: Highly sensitive portable sensors used for the autonomous monitoring of perimeters and vital points. Although they can be operated alone, fixed-site detectors can be pre-positioned through the area of operation, where they may be linked together via a wireless network and controlled from a single control console. Following an open tender competition, 150 LCD-NEXUS fixed-site detectors and associated network equipment were procured from Smiths Detection (Watford) of the United Kingdom in 2008 and are now in service. Each fixed-site detector owes its great sensitivity and very low false-alarm rate to the use of two ion-mobility spectrometry sensors that are operated in tandem.
Chemical Identification System: Field deployable portable analyzers capable of identifying thousands of chemicals. This system provides identification capabilities unachievable with the in-field detectors, which have primarily a detection, rather than identification, capability. The procurement competition will begin during the winter of 2012-2013, and the first systems will be in operation in the coming years.
Sampling and Identification of Biological, Chemical and Radiological Agents: Disposable collection and transportation kits used to collect field samples and ship them to laboratories for detailed analyses. Three different types of sampling and identification of biological, chemical and radiological agents kits were procured from Levitt Safety, headquartered in Toronto, following an open competition, and delivered to the Canadian Armed Forces in late 2009:
Field Expedient Kits are small sized kits used by most military units in the collection of samples in an operational environment.
Specialist Kits are larger and more complex kits used by specialists for forensic quality sampling.
Transport Kits are containers that allow for the preservation of biological samples during their transportation.
Phase 2 – Personal Detection System: Lightweight, small-sized chemical monitors worn on individuals. It is used to warn the individual and others in the near vicinity of the presence of a chemical hazard. After an open competition, the procurement contract was awarded to Smith Detection (Watford) of the United Kingdom in 2009 for the delivery of 700 LCD 3.3 personal detectors, which have been fielded to Canadian Armed Forces units.
Phase 3 – Area Detection and Identification System: A third phase, expected to be in implementation in 2014, will include the development of stand-off detection through the Area Detection and Identification System. The system will allow for the detection, identification and early warning of chemical substances that are located up to several kilometres away from the sensor. Area detection and identification system will be used for the monitoring of large areas such as bases, airfields, harbours, and other sites of interest. They may also be used in various other roles, such as reconnaissance, naval boarding, intelligence gathering, detection of explosives (improvised explosive devices and home-made explosives) and environmental monitoring.
Chemical Agent Sensors Simulator System
Although the Phase 1 and Phase 2 sensor systems are easy to operate, initial cadre training is being included in procurement contracts. Part of that training will include realistic simulation to provide the Canadian Forces Fire and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Academy and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear instructors with the best possible training tools while eliminating the need for environmentally-damaging warfare agent simulants.
During a competitive bid process, the Department of National Defence advertised on the Government of Canada’s electronic tendering service (MERX) its requirement for the supply of a chemical agent sensor simulator system for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training, as part of a Chemical Agent Sensors Project.
The Request for Proposals noted that in order to best simulate real chemical warfare conditions, where the simultaneous use of various detection capabilities will be likely, all simulator systems shall have common simulants and control technologies. Furthermore, the simulators were to be able to account for atmospheric conditions, especially wind speed and direction, when conducting outdoor survey exercises. The Request for Proposals also called for repair and overhaul services, training and spare parts and consumables.
At the completion of the bid review process, a contract was awarded to Patlon Aircraft & Industries Limited for the supply and in-service support of Argon chemical detector simulators and the PlumeSim virtual training system.
For more information on:
Canadian Armed Forces Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Capability Development Program:
Canada First Defence Strategy:
The Future Security Environment 2008-2030 Part 1: Current and Emerging Trends: