FLIR Systems, Inc. announced Monday that it had won a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new fabrics embedded with catalysts and chemical agents that can fight and reduce chemical and biological threats on contact.
The fabrics will be incorporated into protective suits and other equipment like boots, gloves, and eye protection to be worn on the battlefield by troops, as well as worn by medical experts, healthcare workers, and others.
FLIR received $11.2 million in initial funding for the potential five-year effort. The contract could be worth as much as $20.5 million, including options.
“With lives at stake, future operators wearing PPB suits will gain a major edge in staying protected from toxic chemicals and emerging biological threats such as dangerous viruses,” said Mark Stock, VP and general manager of the Sensor Systems business at FLIR. “We’re honored DARPA has chosen us to lead this extraordinary and highly innovative effort to develop first-of-its-kind protective fabrics for our nation’s warfighters, health, and public safety officials.”
The company and its partners will develop the “Integrated Soldier Protective System” (ISPS) fabric at its facility in Pittsburgh. Once developed, it will be tested by government laboratories. The ISPS award consists of a two-year base period, a two-year first option, and a one-year final option. At the end of the project, FLIR will have created a suite of prototype protective fabrics and garments for the U.S. Department of Defense.