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    Doing the Dirty Work

    Doing the Dirty Work

    Courtesy Photo | Contamination Indicator Decontamination Assurance System (CIDAS) mapped chemical agent...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    To reduce manpower requirements and the risk to the Joint Force for thorough equipment and vehicle decontamination, researchers are developing autonomous robotic systems that can identify and map chemical or biological warfare agent (CWA/BWA) contamination on surfaces, then decontaminate the surfaces, and clear a vehicle for unrestricted use.

    After being contaminated with CWA/BWA, large equipment must be thoroughly decontaminated to the lowest field-detectable level for it to be cleared for safe, unrestricted operations. These decontamination operations require a large, designated area, immense logistic support such as water and decontaminants, and intensive manpower. There is also the risk of spreading contamination during decontamination operations.

    The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department in its role as the Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program is working with researchers to develop autonomous systems for next generation decontamination. Researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC), Ground Vehicle Systems Center (DEVCOM GVSC), and Army Research Laboratory (DEVCOM ARL) are developing an Autonomous Decontamination System (ADS) for equipment and wide-area decontamination.

    The ADS will be an interdependent system-of-systems that integrates:

    • Autonomy

    • Contamination mapping

    • Information-enabled precision decontaminant application

    • Clearance assurance technologies

    ADS will integrate with a broader contamination management system, which includes a contamination-mapping data-handoff process that will identify and digitize contamination, making it available to the Joint Force on the network for decontamination tracking and clearance. ADS will benefit the warfighter by reducing the troop-to-task burden, personnel requirements, time, and resources associated with current decontamination operations.

    The ADS will be a robotic platform based on the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport – eXpanded Mobility (MUTT-XM) Utility Ground Vehicle produced by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). DTRA JSTO and DEVCOM CBC recently procured a MUTT-XM system as the platform for the ADS with a commonality of systems strategy that uses a single base system to support multiple Department of Defense missions.

    Two supporting technologies are already developed: the Contamination Indicator Decontamination Assurance System (CIDAS) for contamination mapping of CWAs, and Sprayable Decontamination Slurry for equipment surface decontamination. The ADS-based MUTT-XM robotic platform (with autonomy kit) will include:

    • Payload and subsystems

    • Contamination indicator subsystem that employs CIDAS

    • Contamination mapping subsystem that creates 2D/3D digital maps of positive indication of CIDAS spray

    • Ability to relay this digitized data to a control center

    • Robotic arm applicator for employing CIDAS spray and an advanced decontaminant

    The size, weight, and power implications of integrating multiple subsystems onto one robotic platform will be examined during early prototyping and experimentation efforts over the next two years. Future development plans include subsystem transitions, advanced demonstrations, development of new doctrine and training, and full system transition soon after.

    Current U.S. Army doctrine for thorough equipment decontamination demands heavy labor and logistics support. The ADS based on the MUTT-XM will benefit the Joint Service by enabling autonomous decontamination for mission critical equipment, air platforms, and ground platforms. It will mitigate chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear contamination using multiple, scalable processes that reduce the hazard, manpower, and time and resources, and increase commanders’ flexibility to support multi-domain operations. This is another technology developed by DTRA JSTO to detect, deter, and defeat chemical and biological threats against the Joint Force, nation, and our allies.

    POC: William Buechter,



    Date Taken: 09.07.2022
    Date Posted: 09.07.2022 17:55
    Story ID: 428772
    Location: FT. BELVOIR, VA, US

    Web Views: 359
    Downloads: 0