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Standoff Detection Technologies for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense

Today, CBRN incidents are some of the most frightening threats faced by society. In 1995, a Japanese cult released sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway. Thirteen people were killed and more than 2,000 injured. Syrian government forces are suspected of carrying out dozens of horrific attacks with chlorine and other chemical weapons on opposition-held areas since 2012, killing hundreds and inflicting terrible injuries on others.  The deadliest attacks were the Ghouta attack in the suburbs of Damascus in August 2013 and the Khan al-Asal attack in the suburbs of Aleppo in March 2013. Use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War has also been confirmed by the United Nations.


Various media reports indicate that the Islamic State is currently employing chemical weapons, specifically mustard agent. These reports also reveal, however, that the agent is crude and has not produced the mass effects typical of a state-run program. There are also signs that the Islamic State “has developed at least a small-scale chemical weapons program, and may have manufactured low-quality blister agent or obtained chemical arms from undeclared or abandoned government [Syrian] stocks.” Because of recent terrorist events, people have expressed concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack involving radioactive materials, possibly through the use of a “dirty bomb,” and the harmful effects of radiation from such an event.



Rising CBRNE Threat

The threats of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) hazards continue to advance. According to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, there were a total of 143 attacks – 35 biological, 95 chemical, and 13 radiological – using CBRN weapons across the world from 1970 to 2014. The rising global trend for civil war and internal conflict, especially in large cities, increases the probability that industrialized chemicals will either intentionally or accidentally become a hazard to military and security forces or the localities’ residents.


Owing to modern technology, the production of hazardous substances is easier now than just a few years ago and, with that, the probability of an incident increases. Industrial and agricultural toxic chemicals can be purchased relatively cheaply and easily in most parts of the world. “It does not really matter how serious a CBRN incident is. An event that, theoretically, may not have any major impact on society, the environment or infrastructure can still generate fear and anxiety in the world,” says Nils-Erik Lindblom, CBRN Specialist at the defence and security company Saab.


The relative ease with which malicious actors could obtain many of the materials and know-how and wide range of dissemination techniques makes them appealing to extremist groups.  A greater proliferation through the internet of the knowledge necessary to make CBRNE threats, coupled with the trends of rapid innovation and improvisation witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan with IEDs, will make threat prediction difficult. Weaponized materials can be delivered using conventional bombs (e.g., pipe bombs), improved explosive materials (e.g., fuel oil-fertilizer mixture) and enhanced blast weapons (e.g., dirty bombs).


Biological weapons achieve their intended effects by infecting people with disease-causing microorganisms and other replicative entities, including viruses, infectious nucleic acids and prions. The chief characteristic of biological agents is their ability to multiply in a host over time.


CBRN weapons are some of the most indiscriminate and deadly weapons in existence today, with capability to affect large population in wide geographical area and in short time. The release of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials, whether deliberate or accidental, may have the potential to cause serious harm and severe disruption to the delivery of vital public services over a wide geographical area.


CBRN Defense

CBRN defence remains an indispensible part of the strategic security preparedness of all nations. The overarching goal of CBRN Defense measures is keeping CBRN environments from having adverse effect on personnel, equipment, critical assets and facilities. This includes providing the most advanced diagnostic equipment and countermeasure technology for identifying and protecting against imminent threats.


In addition to protecting against battlefield CBRNE threats, there is an increasing demand to protect borders, ports, and other geographical points of entry, from the emergent threats of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), homemade explosives (HMEs), nuclear devices and radiological dispersal devices. These threats have elevated the importance of technologies for the reliable detection, classification, and identification of asymmetric threats.


CBRN protection includes identifying threats and hazards and preventing or mitigating the effects of CBRN environments. Protective measures include individual protective equipment, detection devices, contamination mitigation technology as well as medical countermeasures.


The scientific principles behind many CBRNE detection technologies are similar, despite their diverse application areas. Technologies such as laser induced fluorescence, Raman and infrared spectroscopy, LIBS/LIPS, mass spectrometry, chromatography, specifically labeled antibodies, DNA/RNA extraction and analysis, biomimetic sensors, micromechanical devices and microfluidics have found recent applications in chemical, biological, radiological and explosives sensing. In addition, methods for electro-optical biological monitoring and biomarker sensing technologies are needed to quantify and detect physical and health indicators of exposure to CBRNE materials. Also, new and sophisticated radiation detection systems are needed for better protection of military personnel and civilians from radiological threats.


The sensing of CBRNE threats is important to obtain “real-time” answers that allow actionable decisions to be made on-the-spot; to reduce the logistical burden by moving the analysis closer to the source of the sample; to rapidly screen materials to identify samples that need to be sent to a lab for additional analysis and minimize the number of these samples; and to nondestructively analyze large, valuable, or immovable objects for which excising samples is not possible. The Department of Defense is increasingly interested in offloading forward decision making and analysis from soldiers to software. This will increase the need for signal processing to be more robust and accurate.



“Detection mechanisms are a fundamental aspect of any successful CBRN civil protection policy. Generally speaking, detection aims at establishing the release or presence of a CBRN agent in a given area/location. In reality, detection mechanisms are needed at the three stages of a CBRN incident, i.e. before, during and after,” write LORD JOPLING (UNITED KINGDOM) Special Rapporteur in “Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) Detection: A Technological Overview”


“Before an incident occurs, CBRN detectors allow for continuous monitoring to either prevent a CBRN incident or to allow for early warning in the event of its happening. These two options are sometimes referred to as detect-to-protect and detect-to-treat.” “During the incident, detectors are required on the spot in order to allow first responders to identify the precise nature and extent of the release and to organise the response accordingly. Lastly, once the incident has occurred, detectors are indispensable in order to confirm the results of early identification, collect evidence and confirm that the area has been decontaminated.”

Current Approaches

Current techniques for detecting chemicals in the field range from collecting samples and transporting them back to a laboratory for analysis, to small point sensors that alert to the presence of a single chemical or chemical class, to passive or active optical sensors that can search the ground for chemical targets from an airborne platform.


Each different chemical detection method has both strengths and limitations. Laboratory analysis techniques such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR), mass spectrometry, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and various forms of chromatography provide precise chemical identification from very small quantities of sample material.


But there is a time lag of hours to days for a sample to be collected and transported to the laboratory, and collecting enough samples to comprehensively analyze large areas for trace surface residues is cost and time prohibitive. Field-portable versions of several of these techniques do exist, which reduce analysis time to minutes, but to test for surface residue samples must still be collected by wiping or swabbing the surface(s) of interest. Also, the sensitivity and specificity of field-portable instruments is significantly lower than the performance capability of their laboratory counterparts.


Selective binding assays can be very sensitive for a particular target chemical or chemical class, but large arrays are required for broad chemical identification. Also, only gas phase molecules or surface residues with very high vapor pressures can be detected, because in order to trigger detection, the molecule of interest must drift to and physically contact the selective binding array.


“The ideal chemical or biological sensor would fulfil a host of criteria. It would be inexpensive, easy to use, rapidly deployable (hand-held), able to detect all dangerous materials or pathogens, capable of detecting them in real time; and able to detect them from diverse sample types. It would be usable, ‘stand-off’ detection; and, most importantly, would always be correct.” “To date a perfect sensor does not exist. A number of different technologies have been developed to detect chemical and biological agents, and technology is becoming increasingly innovative and sophisticated, but there are still flaws.””


The detection of CBRN threats is transitioning to standoff detection systems in order to reduce the threat and the risk for population. In contrast to the point detection systems, which requires close proximity to the samples that need to be analyzed, the stand-off detection systems allows to analyze samples remotely, thus making possible an early identification of the contamination source.


Standoff CBRN Detection

There is thrust on development of stand-off detection technologies which allow detection of even small quantities of an agent from large distances in a real environment. Stand-off detection relies on the absorption of infrared radiation by molecules of a gas. There are two types of standoff detection active and passive, the main difference being utilization of  an integrated source of  radiation for the active stand-off detection system.


Stand-off detection and warning of CBRN represent the main goal to be achieved in order to reduce the threat and the risk for population. In contrast to the point detection systems, which requires close proximity to the samples that need to be analyzed, the stand-off detection systems allows to analyze samples remotely, thus making possible an early identification of the contamination source.


The objective of Chemical Standoff Detection is to develop and demonstrate passive and active concepts for remote detection, identification, ranging, and mapping of chemical clouds in all physical forms. The Bio Standoff Detection focuses on development and demonstration of concepts for remote detection, identification, ranging, and mapping of biological particulate clouds.

 Technologies for standoff detection

Optical spectroscopy based standoff techniques are the most viable approach for rapid, high area coverage chemical detection of trace residues on surfaces. But while a number of existing standoff optical spectroscopy techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, differential absorption light detection and ranging (DIAL), Raman spectroscopy, and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) offer either high sensitivity or high specificity, none can simultaneously provide the needed performance metrics in both categories. Many optical standoff techniques also have additional drawbacks, such as eye safety concerns, which limit CONOPS.

Infrared hyper spectral cameras

Infrared hyper spectral cameras are available commercially e.g. Telops camera that allows standoff chemical detection at a distance of up to 5km. This advanced, imaging radiometric solution enables the user to measure different spectrums, and then compare the measured spectrum with the signatures of known gases and solids. Constituents and properties of a target can then be easily identified.

Existing infrared hyperspectral imaging field techniques can identify chemicals in limited cluttered environment cases, but cannot simultaneously achieve the required sensitivity and selectivity levels needed for most missions.


Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) uses a high intensity laser pulse that is focused onto the surface to be investigated. The high intensity in the focal point generates plasma by ablating a very small amount of the surface material (and potential contaminant) and breaking the atomic bonds of this material. When this material cools down (after ~10 μs), characteristic emission spectra are emitted from the excited atoms or ions, and e.g. CWA can be identified by the presence and relative strength of carbon, phosphorus, chlorine and sulfur.


As LIBS ablates surface material, it is a (partly) destructive technique. It is a fairly sensitive technique and can detect the individual substances on the order of 1-100 ppm with respect to mass in the material ablated. LIBS is normally considered a short-range technique (sub-meter detection range), but >50 m detection distances have been demonstrated. There are several methods that can increase the sensitivity of LIBS. One is by using lasers with femtosecond pulse duration (compared to the usual nanosecond pulse duration) to reduce the so-called brehmsstrahlung emitted by the plasma and thus increasing the signal to background radiation. This benefit comes at the cost of a significantly more complex laser source.



LIDARS are being used for stand-off detection system that enables detection and classification of CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear aerosol and explosive solids). The Lidar system uses a nanosecond laser and a high-power (terawatt) femtosecond laser for detection and classification of various hazardous targets with stand-off distances from several hundred meters to a few kilometers.


The detection is achieved by means of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and two-photon fluorescence (TPF) techniques. The extreme toxicity of organophosphorus (OP)-containing nerve agents such as Sarin, Soman, and Tabun poses a serious threat of chemical attack. For the R and N detection scheme, cesium chloride aerosols have successfully been detected by LIBS using a high-power femtosecond laser. For the B detection scheme, TPF signals of organic aerosols such as riboflavin have clearly been recorded.


Raman scattering is a well-known effect that occurs when photons are scattered on an atom or a molecule. The energy of a small fraction of the scattered photons is shifted with an energy that is characteristic of the scattering molecule. Raman spectroscopy uses lasers to measure molecular vibrations to quickly and accurately identify unknown substances. Ultraviolet lasers have the optimal wavelength for Raman spectroscopy at stand-off distances, but the DoD’s current UV-based tactical detection systems are large and expensive and have limited functionality.


Falcon 4G – an active DIAL (differential absorption light detection and ranging (LIDAR)) stand-off detector

At the heart of Falcon 4G is a tunable CO2 laser with a wavelength of 9.6 µm-11.3 µm. The two lasers allow enable Falcon 4G to detect, identify and also evaluate concentrations of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) at long range without the need of physical contact with the agents ( Detection range of 6 km ) and with sensitivities close to physical limits. Stand-off detection relies on the absorption of infrared radiation by molecules of a gas.


The active stand-off detectors have many advantages compared with passive detectors:Infrared radiation passes through the cloud twice – producing a stronger signature of the cloud on the received infrared radiation,.The field of view of an active stand-off detector can be far smaller and results in a correspondingly higher effective range for the detection of heavy gases like CWAs and the possibility to eliminate influences of typical atmospheric constituencies, especially water vapours and CO2.These differences result in better sensitivity and a bigger detection range for active stand-off detectors compared with passive stand-off detectors.


Falcon 4G’s other capabilities through utilizing two pulsed tunable CO2 lasers are: Detection of biological warfare agents (BWAs) and Evaluation of concentration profiles. The usage of DISC (differential scattering) makes Falcon 4G capable of evaluating the particle size distribution of an aerosol. Keeping in mind that dangerous aerosols are approximately 5 µm in size, Falcon 4G can trigger an alarm in response to a potential BWA threat. Falcon 4G is also capable of receiving back-scattered radiation from natural aerosols in the air such as water droplets, dust particles, and pollens. The reflected laser radiation enables a concertation profile of the CWA cloud along the measurement path to be evaluated.


Defense Intelligence Agency asks industry for lidar scanner to detect dangerous materials in site surveys

In Aug 2019, U.S. intelligence experts  reached out to industry to companies able to design a manpack portable light direction and ranging (lidar) system to detect dangerous materials during sensitive site inspections.


This project seeks to enable technical collections officers to capture, collect, and catalog information on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials during sensitive site exploitation (SSE) for large-scale facilities and items of interest in a GPS-denied environment. DIA officials are looking for companies best qualified to design a TLCS to automate creation of hand-drawn sketches, hand-held photography, and manual measurements necessary to evaluate suspected CBRN materials at sensitive sites.


DIA officials are looking for a manpack lidar that uses non-proprietary technology and photography, and provides a 3D depiction of scanned areas in real time. The idea is to help generate a site sketch, document collection locations, and overlay photos to represent the entire environment.


Such a lidar scanner must integrate onto tactical combat gear, be ruggedized to withstand the rigors of combat operations. It must have accessories for specific missions, and display information in real time on a mounted touchscreen using the Android operating system interface.


Ruggedization will enable the device to withstand adverse physical environments common in tactical combat operations, such as weather and temperature extremes, shock, and vibration. Proposed systems will be tested to MIL-STD-810G, and must be able to operate in temperatures from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius, and in relative humidity from 5 to 95 percent.


The system should weigh no more than 15 pounds and be operate for at least four hours with batteries and spares. Output file formats must be non-proprietary. This system would replace or augment the current tripod-mounted Focus S 70 laser scanner from FARO Technologies Inc. in Lake Mary, Fla.


MIRPHAB (MidInfraRed PHotonics devices fABrication for chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications)

A consortium of leading European organisations under project MIRPHAB (MidInfraRed PHotonics devices fABrication for chemical sensing and spectroscopic applications) has unveiled a chemical sensor capable of superior detection capabilities and unambiguous identification. The device has many potentially exciting capabilities, such as the early detection of diseases, scanning for bacteria in fridges or even detecting the presence of alcohol from afar. Harnessing new photonics technology, the device uses spectroscopic sensors that read the unique wavelengths given off when liquids or gasses interact with light.


The sensor works on the basis of absorption spectroscopy, the technique that measures how a substance reacts when subject to Infrared or Ultraviolet light. The sample absorbs photons from the light energy and the intensity of the absorption differs according to the material being examined, which can determine what the substance is, and how much of it is present. Thousands of stored chemical profiles would then be searched in the integrated database to make a positive ID, in the same way that the DNA database can analyse genetic material to produce a match


Project coordinator Sergio Nicoletti says: “We are making the next generation of sensors that are compact, low cost, and low on power consumption and capable of real-time detection where the speed and sensibility is unrivalled. We want to shrink current technology down to the size of a mobile phone”.



Precise molecular fingerprinting on the fly

Molecules absorb light at well-defined particular colours or optical frequencies. Usually such characteristic frequencies are located in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Precisely measuring a set of such absorption dips unambiguously identifies the molecules and quantifies their abundance in the probed environment. Because detection of molecules by optical absorption spectroscopy is sensitive and nonintrusive, it finds an increasing number of applications, from biomedical diagnostics to atmospheric sensing.


A team of scientists at MPQ reports a promising new technique of near-infrared spectroscopy. They use modulators and a nonlinear optical fibre to produce two frequency combs, each with more than a thousand evenly spaced infrared spectral lines with a remarkably flat intensity distribution. Line spacing and spectral position can be selected quickly and freely by simply dialing a knob. Such frequency-agile optical combs offer unprecedented freedom when interrogating a molecular spectrum via a powerful technique called multiplexed dual-comb spectroscopy. Two mutually coherent combs are combined in an interferometer. Unprecedented refresh rates (80 kHz) and tuning speeds (10 nm s-1) at high signal-to-noise ratio are achieved.


Such unique combination holds much promise for trace gas sensing, a domain relevant to physics, biology, chemistry, industry or atmospheric sciences. “Furthermore, the frequency-agile frequency comb generator might also become an enabling tool for applications beyond spectroscopy, like for arbitrary waveform generation, radio-frequency photonics, optical coherence tomography or microscopy”, concludes Dr. Ming Yan, a post-doc working at the experiment.



A team of researchers from MIT and Princeton have built a new system for detecting chemicals used in explosive. The system is based on laser-powered terahertz spectroscopy – the measurement of electromagnetic radiation between the frequencies of microwaves and infrared. The possibility to detect bombs by using radiation has long been realised, but until now terahertz systems were too cumbersome and power-hungry to prove a viable detection mechanism.


This  system  uses a small quantum cascade laser – about the size of a computer microchip – which can detect terahertz signatures in a split second. The device uses the laser to produce a so-called frequency comb – “ a spectrum made up of a series of equally spaced frequencies,” UPI reports. With this variety of frequencies, the device can create a unique “terahertz-absorption profile” with a handful of measurements.


One of the issues until now was that cascade lasers must be kept at very low temperature to operate. This required bulky cooling systems that made widespread use prohibitive. Because the new system uses a very small and very low-energy quantum cascade laser, the cooling system required for it is much smaller as well.


The current research is focused on using THz (0.3 THz to 10 THz) and Mid Infrared (10 THz to 100 THz) radiation for the detection of explosives and CBRN agents. CBRN agents, explosives and illegal drugs can be detected by their characteristic absorption spectra at THz frequencies with high selectivity and resolution in applications fields as industrial quality inspection control, customs inspection and security screening. Moreover, MIR and THz radiation has no endangering effects on human beings and enables higher contrast for “soft matter” than x-rays. In comparison to standard optical technologies for wavelengths up to about 2μm, sources and detectors for MIR and THz have not yet reached this level of maturity and there is still a large gap for features like wavelength tunability, spectral purity, high power and room temperature operation, which all are necessary for commercial applications.


DARPA’s Spectral Combs from UV to THz (SCOUT) program

Spectroscopic chemical sensing, which measures the frequency of light absorbed or scattered from a substance to help determine its molecular identity, can be used to detect traces of biological and chemical agents and residue from explosive materials. Current capabilities in operational military environments, however, lack the sensitivity and broad spectral coverage needed to detect and distinguish among deadly chemicals and the “frequency clutter” generated by common components in the atmosphere.


The SCOUT program aims to overcome these shortcomings by harnessing optical frequency comb (OFC) technology, which is akin to using thousands of lasers simultaneously (like extremely fine teeth on a hair comb) to enable both high sensitivity and wide spectral coverage for detecting multiple types of substances at extended distances. In particular, microresonator-based combs (microcombs) could potentially shrink standoff detectors to the size of a microchip.


The SCOUT program is developing chip-scale optical frequency comb sources to enable trace-level chem-bio detection in real world environments. Environments of interest include ambient atmosphere, atmosphere polluted by smoke and aerosols, industrial process cleanrooms, solid and liquid surface residues, and exhaled human breath, with particular interest in both near-proximity detection (non-contact to 300 meters) and standoff detection (greater than 300 meters).


“In laboratory settings we’ve seen proof of principle that it’s possible to identify and quantify multiple substances at a distance of 2 kilometers or more, but no portable sensors exist today that can detect and distinguish among multiple chemical or biological agents in gas or liquid form at even half that distance,” said Prem Kumar, DARPA program manager. “The challenge DARPA is addressing is to develop portable, microchip-size optical frequency combs that display a high degree of sensitivity and specificity across the electromagnetic spectrum, even in a cluttered frequency environment.”


The program has identified four spectral regions for technical development of chip-scale OFCs and potential uses: Ultraviolet to visible (useful for biological threat detection and real-time monitoring of chemical reactions); mid-wave infrared (useful for breath analysis applications); long-wave infrared (useful for detection of explosives); and submillimeter/terahertz (useful for detection of complex molecules). Additionally, SCOUT aims to develop new techniques in chem/bio sensing that exploit the unique properties of optical frequency combs.


The SCOUT program seeks expertise in optical materials processing and device fabrication, chip-based OFC generation, high-resolution metrology and molecular spectroscopy, algorithm development and data processing, as well as domain expertise in trace level chemical and biological threats detection to achieve success in the program.

DARPA’s Laser UV Sources for Tactical Efficient Raman (LUSTER) program

The Joint Biological Stand-Off Detection System (JBSDS) is an example of stand-off chemical and biological threat detection. JBSDS uses light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology to automatically analyzes aerosol fluorescence for threat discrimination. DARPA’s new LUSTER program seeks to provide similar capabilities by developing compact, high-power ultraviolet lasers.


DARPA’s Laser UV Sources for Tactical Efficient Raman (LUSTER) program seeks proposals for compact, efficient and low-cost deep-UV lasers for highly deployable biological and chemical agent detection. The goal is to create a new class of UV lasers that are more than 300 times smaller than current lasers and 10 times more efficient. The resulting technology could be dropped into current detection systems to save size, weight and power (SWaP) or to create new systems that are smaller and more sensitive.


“Today’s standoff detection systems are so large and heavy that trucks are required to move them,” said Dan Green, DARPA program manager. “LUSTER seeks to develop new laser sources for breakthrough chemical and biological agent detection systems that are compact and light enough to be carried by an individual, while being more efficient than today’s systems. We also want to take a couple of zeroes off the price tag.”


Currently, HexaTech is part of a $4M contract awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  LUSTER, which is aimed at developing a coherent, short-wavelength UV light source, or laser diode, aimed at a range of applications such as decontamination, precision manufacturing, real-time medical diagnostics, and chemical and biological identification using Raman spectroscopy. HexaTech’s unique ALUMINUM NITRIDE (AlN) substrates, as well as its device design and fabrication capabilities are an essential part of the success of this program.


Future trends

In the future the use of swarms of drones in decontamination efforts could also be possible in the future as advances are made in UAV technology and in nanotechnology. CBRN detection equipment is being integrated into command and control structures and investments are trending toward multi-platform, multi-detection and multi-application technologies.


Integrating multiple sensors onto multiple platforms dramatically increases the operational effectiveness of CBRN units by allowing for more rapid deployment, detection, and dissemination of equipment and information. Historically, the speed at which information was transmitted to command personnel slowed response times and put responders in danger. The goal with integrated CBRN systems is to increase the operational awareness and flexibility of decision makers.


CBRNE Market Worth $9.8 Billion by 2022

The CBRNe defense market is estimated to register a CAGR of 1.96%, during the forecast period 2019-2024. According to lead author of the CBRNE Market Detection Devices 2016-2022 study,  worldwide market for CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) was  $2.2 billion in 2015 is anticipated to reach $ 9.8 billion by 2022.


The CBRNe defense market is growing with an increase in the number of terrorist attacks worldwide using CBRNe agents for carrying out the attacks. The increase in the number of threats, as well as attacks carried out by making use of chemical, biological, and radioactive weapons, in recent years, have led to various governments increasing their security measures, globally. The Applications  areas for CBRNE are in law enforcement, the military, border control, homeland security, building surveillance, concert protection, sports arena protection, fire department use, utility infrastructure surveillance, and delivery systems.


Technological developments in unmanned systems, especially the unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have demonstrated the potential of remotely operated capabilities in alleviating the risks to humans in hostile environments, resulted due to the CBRNe attacks. In terms of CBRNe defense missions, unmanned systems can perform a wide variety of tasks that range from reconnaissance and surveillance, to detection and decontamination.


Currently, the military segment has the highest share out of all the segments. With growing threats from terrorists and a rise in political tensions, CBRNe weapons have emerged as a potential threat for several countries. Governments and defense departments of several nations are developing robust and effective countermeasures, in order to protect the public and military personnel from CBRNe weapons. Governments, along with many militaries, are developing the necessary framework for tackling the threats caused by CBRNe incidents. The main focus is on the protection of the military personnel against any vulnerable attacks.


For instance, the Netherlands Army plans to procure new chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance vehicles for its fleet. The Netherlands army also plans to increase the operational lifespan of its 12 armored vehicles for CBRNe reconnaissance. The new reconnaissance capabilities are expected to enable the Royal Netherlands Army to effectively detect and identify all CBRNe-relevant substances. Moreover, many investments are being poured in the R&D of devices and equipment for countering CBRNe threats, all of which are expected to increase the revenues of this segment during the forecast period.


The CBRNe market is highly fragmented, with several players accounting for very small shares in the global market. The prominent players are Smiths Group, Rapiscan Systems, FLIR Systems Inc., and Avon Rubber PLC.

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