Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


E. Chemical, Biological Defense (CBD) and Nuclear

1. Scope

The National Defense Act for FY94, Public Law 103-160, consolidated management and funding of both medical and non-medical CBD programs under OSD and in separate Defense accounting lines. The Law designated the Army as executive agent to coordinate and integrate the CBD acquisition program. In that capacity, the Army has elected to present the CBD Program in this S&T Master Plan. The non-medical CBD programs are discussed here in Section E, while the medical CBD programs are addressed in Section Q, Medical and Biomedical S&T.

The Chemical, and Biological Defense and Nuclear program includes those technology efforts that maximize a strong defensive posture in a nuclear, biological, or chemical environment using passive and active means as deterrents to the use of weapons of mass destruction. These technologies include the areas of hardening electronic components against the radiation, blast, thermal, and electromagnetic pulse effects of tactical nuclear weapons; chemical and biological detection; information assessment, which includes identification, modeling, and intelligence; contamination avoidance; protection of both individual soldiers and equipment; and collective protection against weapons of mass destruction.

2. Rationale

Defense against nuclear, chemical, and biological agents is accomplished at several levels: enhancing survivability of land combat systems and helicopters; detecting CB agents before personnel are exposed, protecting personnel once agents are employed, decontaminating following exposures, and providing safe and effective medical countermeasures. Related areas include modeling and simulation of agent characteristics and modernizing armored systems for nuclear, chemical, and biological survivability.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Electromagnetic Environment Survivability

Goals and Time Frames

Electromagnetic environments (EME) result from a variety of sources to include low and high altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from nuclear weapons. The EMP environments, in conjunction with the other EM environments, are being studied to determine undefined aspects that could induce unexpected systems vulnerabilities in an electronic battlefield. Once vulnerabilities are determined through validated simulation analysis and measured assessments, recommendations and guidelines are developed to increase the survivability of the electronic equipment. Areas of concentrated effort will be translating source region EMP code for execution on a desktop computer, characterizing a terminal protection device, and developing a simple code for predicting output from asymmetric nuclear weapons (FY97).

The requirement for weight reduction in tactical weapon systems will result in an increased use of nonmetallic structures. Composites and other advanced nonmetallic materials are being evaluated for EM protection for the electronic battlefield. Refined EM modeling of a Comanche helicopter mock-up will include composite surfaces (FY97).

Major Technical Challenges

The major technical challenges will be to model the effects of EMP from a high or low altitude burst of a nuclear weapon. Additional challenges are to validate EM modeling with measurement techniques that will lead to a wide spectrum of EM protection that can be leveraged.

b. Radiation, Blast, and Thermal Protection

Goals and Time Frames

Ionizing radiation from tactical nuclear weapons will disrupt theater operations by affecting both crews of armored vehicles and electronic systems. Evaluations are performed to develop and recommend methodologies that will enhance the survivability of crew-served vehicles and on-board electronic systems. Analysis will be performed on the initial shielding design of CRUSADER (FY97) and will begin on advanced Army vehicles (FY98). Test methodologies are enhanced or developed to evaluate the radiation effects on advanced electronics to include complex microprocessors (IDT 4600/4700 and Power PC) and memory circuits (Ferroelectric Random Access Memories) (FY97). Silicon carbide MOSFETs are also being evaluated for radiation tolerance in a high temperature environment (FY97). In addition, evaluation of changes in commercial processing of radiation-hardened CMOS electronics is continuing (FY97-FY98).

Nuclear air blast overturns vehicles and associated support systems and therefore poses a problem with current concepts of lighter battlefield equipment. A procedure to simulate non-ideal airblast was developed and is used to research the non-ideal air blast effects on Army equipment. Data obtained from non-ideal air blast research, along with historical data from atmospheric bursts, are used to validate blast hydrocode computations and to set parameters for non-ideal blast survivability criteria (FY97, STO). The extension of this research will be to perform studies of blast and shock wave flows over various terrains (FY98).

Major Technical Challenges

The nuclear weapons effects area poses a number of major technical challenges to the Army as noted below. The problem of overcoming these challenges is compounded by a lack of influence on the semiconductor industry by Army survivability requirements which might otherwise encourage production of cost-effective radiation-tolerant to radiation-hardened components. On a different front, as the Army moves toward the development of lighter weight equipment, the increased use of composite materials has exacerbated their vulnerability of equipment to blast and thermal effects.

c. Detection

Goals and Time Frames

Standoff short-range CB detection is being pursued with lasers that can detect, identify, and map chemical vapors, aerosols, and liquids on the ground at ranges of 3 km. This vehicle-mounted system will operate on the move, in real time, and, more important, will be trainable to detect future agents. The longer range biological threat will be detected at ranges up to 50 km using eye-safe lasers whose enhanced imaging capability will employ polarization and multiple wavelength excitation to increase discrimination range against natural biological backgrounds (FY01). Passive technologies such as surface-excited infrared thermoluminescence, being studied for their ability to detect CB agents on the battlefield, require development of atmospheric databases, spectroscopic detection algorithms, and optical telescope designs for airborne and space platforms (FY10). These approaches are being evaluated against the use of multiple point sensors, either distributed throughout the battlespace or mounted on mobile platforms (FY02).

Because of the unique characteristics of CB agents, their physico-chemical properties must be carefully mapped to ensure detection, and a theoretical basis for detecting unknown but related agents must be developed. Infrared, visible, and ultraviolet spectroscopy, as well as mass, Raman, and laser desorption or electrospray particle trap mass spectrometry (MS), are being applied to this problem. Finally, aerosol science is providing the basis for the development of new optical methods for interrogating aerosol clouds from a distance for the purpose of detection.

Closer to the soldier is point detection. New fluorescent, acoustic, and optical biosensors are being designed for enhanced sensitivity and more flexible detection capability. Recent advances in the acceleration of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on a miniaturized scale now permit the exploitation of DNA probes for field detection of pathogens. A major thrust of a Defense Technology Objective (DTO) is the development of a rapid, automated field detection device based on the PCR. One key DTO is the development of recombinant antibodies to serve as the recognition element of these new biosensors (FY96). Recombinant antibodies will ultimately be designed and quickly selected from genetic "super libraries" (FY99) to have specific detection capabilities, and novel starburst dendrimers are being studied for use on tailored reactive surfaces. Another major approach to point detection is mass spectrometry, and miniature automated versions are being assessed for integration into existing CBD platforms (FY01). Of critical importance for biosensor and MS approaches is bio-aerosol sampling since characteristics (e.g., concentration of detectable units per unit volume of air) of biological aerosols differ dramatically from chemical vapors, with resulting effects on detection efficacy. (See Figure IV-E-1.)

Figure IV-E-1. Soldier in Protective Garments Operating Chemical Agent Monitor

 

Major Technical Challenges

In the post-World War II era, detection was a simple matter of knowing what agents potential adversaries possessed and designing analytical procedures to detect them. The proliferation of a broad spectrum of biological agents such as toxins, viruses, and bacteria, and the potential for genetically engineered pathogens have complicated this task immeasurably. The ideal detection system would operate continually in a stand-off mode and would be capable of detecting all known—and even unknown—agents.

d. Protection

Goals and Time Frames

The second major theme in CB defense is protection, and this may be divided into individual and collective protection. The foci of individual protection are to reduce the physiological burden of the protective mask and clothing, thereby reducing performance degradation; to integrate the mask into future soldier systems; and to protect against future CB threat agents. To accomplish these goals, new materials will be needed to decrease breathing resistance (FY05) and increase binocular vision (FY05). Computer-aided design and rapid prototyping techniques are being employed to both improve mask performance and manufacturing processes. Supporting this, new physiological and protection tests are being developed. For clothing, selectively permeable and smart membranes are being assessed for enhanced protection and reduced heat stress. Selectively permeable membranes laminated to lightweight shell fabrics will provide low thermal insulation and high vapor transmission. Incorporation of reactive materials into the membrane will reduce the need for carbon and extend service life. Collective protection focuses on advanced filtration concepts that will reduce power, space, and volume and on new materials as alternatives or enhancements for existing charcoal systems. Temperature swing and pressure swing adsorption, as well as catalytic oxidation over monolithic catalysts, are under investigation in an attempt to provide filter systems that can be used over and over again (FY01). In addition, sorbents with precisely defined engineered pore structure are being investigated as replacements for the traditional activated carbon (FY10). Finally, computer models are being designed to predict filter performance characteristics from fundamental data on filtration media.

Major Technical Challenges

The major challenge will be to design new materials with both filtration and catalytic properties to protect against a broad spectrum of both chemical and biological agents, while reducing the physiological burden to the soldier.

e. Decontamination

Goals and Time Frames

The third major theme is decontamination, and this can be divided into three categories: Immediate, which is carried out by the individual soldier; Operational, which is carried out by the contamination unit; and Thorough, which is performed by the chemical company, usually at an equipment decontamination site. Both hydrolytic and oxidative reactions are being studied, with the goal of formulating stable decontaminants with new reactants for rapid destruction of mustard, and V and G nerve agents. Catalytic materials such as enzymes are being designed and assessed for their ability to destroy chemical agents under mild, ambient conditions, thus avoiding damage to delicate equipment (FY96). Ultimately, these new catalytic materials may be incorporated into sorbents and self-decontaminating coatings, fibers or paints (FY10). (See Figure IV-E-2.)

Figure IV-E-2. Molecular Model of Catalytic Oxidation

Major Technical Challenges

The main technical objective is to design decontaminating materials with highly catalytic properties, long shelf life, and an ability to function under a broad range of temperatures and pH.

f. Modeling and Simulation

Goals and Time Frames

The use of modeling and simulation (M&S) is an essential aspect of the current and future CB Defense (CBD) Program. Advanced computer simulation technology will allow soldiers to be immersed in a realistic and physically accurate computer-generated combat environment which includes CB agent cloud movement and target effects under variable weather, terrain, and foliage conditions. This capability will allow the military user, for the first time, to experience the impact and consequences of CB weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in operational situations and, more important, will demonstrate the potential value of CBD equipment (FY01). Simulations of both conceptual and actual CBD equipment will result in improved and stable performance requirements to be established early in development (FY01). The Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) network will enable the user to evaluate the "value-added" of each CBD item at every phase of development. (See Figure IV-E-3.) By means of virtual prototyping, soldiers will contribute to the detailed design of new equipment throughout the development cycle. The combination of constructive (wargaming) and virtual (3-dimensional) simulations will permit CBD hardware performance characteristics to be optimized prior to production. Virtual prototyping will greatly decrease the acquisition time and associated costs of development including test and evaluation elements. The mutual interaction between user and developer, provided by M&S throughout the acquisition cycle, will result in superior CBD products within the limited funding and resource constraints anticipated for the future.

Figure IV-E-3. Simulation of Intercept of Chemical or Biological Agent Munition.

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As the threat evolves and proliferates, it becomes increasingly important to be able to identify, synthesize, and assess the physico-chemical and toxicological properties of new compounds. These studies are being used to develop quantitative structure-activity-property relationships and, ultimately, to predict the behavior of new compounds in biosystems. Novel, short-acting sedatives are being developed from these efforts as potential less-than-lethal chemicals for a variety of applications, and candidate nontoxic simulants with reduced environmental impact are also being selected and tested.

Major Technical Challenges

There are two main objectives for M&S: first, to develop models which accurately predict the effect of CBW agents on battlefield performance, as well as the protective capability of CBW defense equipment; second, to model structure-activity relationships to predict the threat potential of new compounds and their behavior in both bio- and ecosystems.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Chemical, Biological Defense and Nuclear is shown in Table IV-E-1, below.

Table IV-E-1. Technical Objectives for Chemical and Bilogical Defense and Nuclear

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