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Indra is to supply the Spanish Army with an advanced portable chemical laboratory, ready to be deployed rapidly in the field in order to identify any chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals in use, the company announced on 7 November.

The laboratory will boost the operational capabilities of the ‘Valencia’ CBRN Defense Regiment. The command centre's decision-making will be enhanced by the promptness and efficiency of the agent identification process.

Until now, this regiment has operated VAMTAC high mobility tactical vehicle, BMR 6x6 reconnaissance vehicles and the Sampling and Identification of Biological, Chemical and Radiological Agents (SIBCRA) team, which collects samples in a contaminated area and sends them to a lab for subsequent analysis. It is now able to deploy an entire laboratory, taking immediate delivery of samples in order for the specialists to work on site in safety, with the most advanced identification equipment. This will help save time and make their work more effective.

Identifying these chemical agents is the first step towards responding appropriately in the event of incidents of this type. This also entails the strategic capability to track prohibited chemical weapons used against the civilian population during conflict.

The lab consists of a 20-ft or container that houses the work area and a backup equipped with HVAC, CBRN air and water tank filtration, non-interruptible power supply, a diesel generator and storage for gathered materials. It features a handling booth isolated from the rest of the lab and a communication system that sends the results immediately to the command centre. All analysis equipment is completely compatible with that currently used by the Institute of Technology located in La Marañosa. Each lab can work as a backup for the other if results need to be collated.

The laboratory enables identification of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, in compliance with international NATO standards for facilities of this kind (STANAG 4632).

This contract establishes Indra as the trusted technology provider for the Spanish Army in CBRNe (Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives) security and identification solutions. Moreover, Indra is the leading European company in the development of this type of equipment and technology.

In the field of counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) – the preferred weapon of terrorist groups and the cause of most casualties during conflict – Indra provided the laboratory used by NATO countries during the Afghanistan conflict between 2011-2014. Subsequently, it provided the international training centre of the European Defense Agency (EDA) in the Netherlands with two portable forensic laboratories designed to train military specialists and prepared to deploy to the field if necessary. The Australian Army has also entrusted the company with the development of a first-class laboratory with the same characteristics.

Likewise, Indra has participated in the most ambitious European R&D projects launched to date for the detection of triggered explosives, using a variety of pioneering techniques. It has developed a CBRN reconnaissance vehicle, the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (AREVE) that discreetly transports in a conventional van the most powerful equipment in order to respond to civil emergencies. In the field of scientific research, it has provided the University of Granada with a top-tier biosafety level III laboratory.

The Spanish Army’s new mobile chemical analysis laboratory. (Photo: Indra)

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