Aklus Shield Chem-Bio Threat Detection System, United States of America
Aklus Shield is an automated, battery-operated chem-bio threat detection system developed by SRC to detect, sample and identify airborne biological threats.
It was selected for the Joint United States Forces Korea (USFK) Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition (JUPITR) programme.
The programme aims to provide new instrumentation for stronger biosurveillance capabilities on the Korean Peninsula.
Aklus Shield system can be used in applications such as biosurveillance, chemical and biological defence and homeland security to protect fighters in theatre against bioterrorism.
The Aklus Shield took part in the IDEX 2015 International Defence Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Demonstration and orders
The chem-bio defence system underwent a series of tests during the first phase of the JUPITR programme at the Aberdeen Proving Ground facility in Maryland and at the Key West Naval Air Station in Florida.
SRC received a follow-on contract to deliver Aklus Shield threat detection systems and training and support to the JUPITR programme in October 2015.
Aklus Shield chem-bio defence system design
Aklus Shield threat detection and collection system features a lightweight, flexible and open architecture design. The system, which weighs approximately 50lb, is built on a high-tech carbon fibre backpack structure.
It is simple to operate and can be deployed within four hours in a tactical environment.
The system's swappable / upgradable commercial off-the-shelf components allow it to be configured into multi-role chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNe) detection and sampling system.
Its modular design enables the identifier to use immunoassays or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques, based on the mission needs.
The system is equipped with industry standard interfaces, commercially available technologies, centralised power distribution, and a command and control unit. It can be easily reconfigured and upgraded to provide advanced threat detection capabilities.
The chem-bio defence system can be integrated with chemical sensors to provide real-time awareness of chemical agents. The system uses unique toxin assays to assist evaluation of suspect toxins on the same PCR platform used to identify bacterial and viral agents. Toxin assays evaluate biological activity of the suspect toxins within one hour.
The system is coupled with a networkable and embedded mesh radio to perform remote monitoring and surveillance over a wide area for a high level of protection. It is equipped with base station sensor fusion software, which facilitates operation of multiple sensors from one or more centralised locations.
Performance of Aklus Shield threat detection system
Aklus Shield is powered by military standard lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and requires less than 20W of power. It is capable of operating continuously for multiple days on a single charge. The system can be optionally powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
The JUPITR programme is a new advanced technology demonstration (ATD) led by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD), and supported by the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC).
JUPITR has four sections, which are biosurveillance portal (BSP), biological identification capability sets (BICS), assessment of environmental detectors (AED) and early warning (EW).