The U.S. Navy last week announced it will consolidate chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) warfare agent detection services to Naval Surface Warfare (NSWC) Dahlgren in Virginia.
The cost-saving effort relocates all CBR services from Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, located in Indiana, to counterpart activities at Dahlgren. As the Navy works to upgrade CBR detectors across the fleet, consolidating acquisition, test and evaluation and installation services with sustainment operations will streamline lifecycle support of the CBR equipment.
“Our partnership with NSWC Crane to transfer the acquisition and in-service engineering work associated with chemical and biological detectors is significantly reducing the Navy’s total ownership costs,” said NSWC Dahlgren CBR Defense Division Head Mike Purello. “This is not only providing opportunities for us to better support the warfighter at Dahlgren and on the waterfront but it’s also enabling our scientists and engineers to look for the most efficient ways to support potential next generation detection systems.”
Key to the consolidation was the ability of the NSWC Dahlgren to receive appropriate approvals for work with radioactive materials, necessary to maintain, store, stage and track all of the Navy’s chemical detectors that contain radioactive sources. NSWC Crane held the only permit.
To help accomplish this goal, Dahlgren built the CBR Fleet Support and Integration Laboratory, providing the appropriate facilities to apply for the Naval Radioactive Materials Permit. The facilities better enable Naval engineers to perform diagnostics, testing, and subsequent calibrations required to provide CBR systems and equipment to the fleet.
The group at Dahlgren has already received a permit exemption allowing them to work on the Improved Point Detection System – Lifecycle Replacement (IPDS-LR). Full permitting for work with radioactive materials at the new Dahlgren lab is expected to be finalized by March 2013.
IPDS-LR is a ship-based chemical warfare agent (CWA) detector upgrading the existing IPDS on all Navy ships. The detector is designed to automatically and simultaneously detect and identify CWA vapors by agent class (nerve, blister and blood) within a specified time period. The system is being installed on 35 ships in 2012. IPDS/IPDS-LR is projected to be replaced by the Next Generation Chemical Point Detection System, still under development, in 2018.