The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), in collaboration with the DoD’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office Technical Support Working Group (CTTSO TSWG), has issued an RFI regarding evaluation of standoff optical techniques for the detection of trace and macroscopic quantities of explosives on vehicles, personnel, and surfaces.
The request is a focused market survey of any technology that meets the standoff requirement and detects total explosive amounts in the sub-microgram range to visible quantities (e.g., visible powders from heavy fingerprints, or macroscopic powder remnants).
Proponents of technologies of varying Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) from concept formulation (defined as TRL 3) to deployable systems (defined as TRL 9) are invited to submit descriptions of their systems and concept applications. This is a volunteer based evaluation program, and no funds will be provided to any performer for additional development prior to the test or reimbursement for participation in the evaluation.
In the manufacture and transport of Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) and PBIED, there are trace amounts of the explosive deposited on the outer surfaces, e.g, the subject’s vehicle. This could be due to human handling of the IED with subsequent transfer to the surface, a contaminated area used for IED manufacture, or the IED shedding trace amounts as it is being loaded into the vehicle. The placement of IED in a roadway or path may also provide a more highly contaminated area with visible noticeable quantities of an unknown explosive residue. Developing standoff techniques would mitigate the ominous hazard imposed on personnel involved in contact trace sampling.
A successfully deployed non-contact system will detect sub-microgram amounts of explosives spread across defined surface areas (several hundred square centimeters) at substantial standoff (>20 meters) within seconds, while incurring a very low false alarm rate, and will be robust enough to perform in a variety of weather conditions. Identifying the type of explosive threat is also desirable for many CONOPS. These requirements present a daunting technical challenge that spans scientific disciplines and requires creative approaches using novel techniques.
Further details are available via Solicitation Number: 15-13739. The response deadline is Dec 31, 2015.