£2 Million Competition to be Launched in September
On 11 July, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the impending launch of a competition seeking proposals for novel and innovative technologies and approaches to access, disable and/or irreversibly destroy chemical and biological munitions, IEDs and bulk agents in challenging environments.
To be launched in London in September, the competition will be run under the auspices of the Defence and Security Accelerator programme and is jointly funded by MoD and the US Department of Defense under an existing bilateral memorandum of understanding.
The competition has an initial £500,000 (€565,000) to fund multiple proof-of-concept proposals at low Technology Readiness Levels (TRL). Additional funding of £1.5 million may be available depending on the outcome of the initial funding phase.
Under the Chemical Weapons Convention all member states are obligated to destroy any chemical weapons they own or possess, or that they abandoned on the territory of another member state. There is an increasing focus on developing a toolkit of novel and innovative options to enable rapid, effective and irreversible destruction of smaller caches of chemical and biological weapons discovered in resource-limited environments.
Whilst destruction technologies exist, they are not appropriate for use in all circumstances. Through this competition the principals seek to investigate novel or innovative new concepts or adapt current technologies, expecting such solutions will ultimately enable destruction methods to be more rapid, effective and flexible than those used for large stockpiles, and reduce logistical support requirements, whilst maximising ease of operation, transportability and ruggedness of the equipment. These improved capabilities will allow both governments to address a greater breadth of threats and in a wider range of circumstances.
There are three main areas of interest for this competition:
- Access – how to gain access to munitions, IEDs and bulk containers without relying on the original design features, such as filling ports, which may or may not be present;
- Disable – how to prevent munitions, IEDs and bulk agent being used as intended, either temporarily or permanently;
- Destroy – how to permanently and irreversibly destroy munitions, IEDs and bulk agents.
Parties interested in attending the event in London at 1300 on 26 September 2018 should register an expression of interest by 1700 on 12 September 2018.