New £88 Million Tech Contract Signed To Protect UK Armed Forces

The UK Armed Forces has signed a new £88M contract, paving the way for world-leading chemical detection sensors.

Spearheaded by Strategic Command and a collaborative pan-defence team, this initiative marks a significant leap in safeguarding thousands of personnel serving across the British Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force.

The introduction of wearable personal chemical agent sensors promises to revolutionise battlefield safety, enabling military personnel to detect a number of toxic chemical threats promptly. This technology empowers soldiers to take immediate action to shield themselves and others, establishing a new standard in military protection.


Wearable Sensors: A Milestone in Detection Technology


At the heart of this transformative initiative lies the wearable personal chemical agent sensor – a device designed to monitor the user’s environment.

This innovative wearable sensor represents a first-of-its-kind solution for the UK Armed Forces, capable of detecting multiple chemical threats, whether dispersed through vapours or aerosols. By addressing diverse modes of chemical threat dispersion, this technology ensures protection for military personnel, showing the commitment to ensuring their safety in the face of evolving challenges.


Comprehensive Defence


Under the terms of the contract, UK-based company Smiths Detection will play a pivotal role in developing three next-generation chemical sensor products for the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Scheduled to be operational by 2028, these sensors include the wearable personal chemical agent sensor, a survey chemical agent sensor for portable hazard assessments, and a remote-capable, standoff chemical sensor optimised for fixed locations. This comprehensive suite of sensors ensures that military personnel have the tools necessary to address chemical threats in various contexts, ranging from mobile battlefield scenarios to stationary installations.



Future-Ready Technology


One of the key advantages of this technology is its adaptability to emerging threats. As new hazards arise in the future, these sensors can be continually updated and enhanced, broadening their range of chemical threat coverage.

This proactive approach ensures that the UK Armed Forces remain ahead of potential threats, leveraging cutting-edge technology to protect their personnel effectively.


Boosting the UK Economy


Beyond its significance in military technology, this contract holds economic implications. By supporting hundreds of skilled professionals at Smiths Detection and creating several new jobs at their Hemel Hempstead site, the initiative aligns with the Prime Minister’s vision of growing the UK economy.

Furthermore, the company’s commitment to sourcing components and services from UK suppliers bolsters the domestic manufacturing industry, contributing to the nation’s production capabilities.


Innovation and Safety


Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, emphasised the vital role of this technology in enhancing the safety of service personnel across diverse global environments.

Highlighting its design and manufacture in the UK, Cartlidge praised the technology’s continuous development and improvement, reflecting the ambitious approach of Defence procurement. Similarly, Smiths Detection President, Roland Carter, expressed the company’s honour in being selected for this project, showing the organisation’s commitment to creating a safer world through advanced technology.


Defending the Future


The introduction of these cutting-edge chemical detection sensors marks a fundamental step in fortifying the UK’s Counter-Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear capability.

Facilitated by the UK MOD’s procurement arm Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and supported by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), this initiative represents a testament to innovation, safety, and the relentless pursuit of advancing military technology. As the UK Armed Forces embrace these state-of-the-art sensors, they are not just defending the present but also securing a safer future for military personnel and communities alike.