Kromek, the leading British developer of wearable, and other, radiation detectors, was invited to participate in the multi-agency PATRIOT 21 training exercise last month. PATRIOT 21 was held over three days from 15-17 June at the Volk Field Air National Guard base in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, USA. Kromek deployed D3S ID Radioisotope Identification Device (RIID) devices to support the exercise.
PATRIOT 21, which is the largest exercise of its kind each year, involved working at the Combat Readiness Training Center. Participants were drawn from CBRN specialists in the Air National Guard, US Air Force, the Army Emergency Response and CBRN team and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) co-ordinators.
Kromek was the only UK company supporting Exercise Patriot and one of just seven industry partners. Its world-renowned detector, the D3S ID, itself a key part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) SIGMA system, was put to the test in a variety of scenarios. These included: a vehicle accident, where the vehicle was known to have medical radiological isotopes on board; another where the vehicle which was immobilized and suspected of nefarious activity; a third scenario involved a plane carrying suspected drug cartel members forced to land over US airspace. General nefarious activity was suspected, mostly of a biological/chemical nature.
The initial response to the simulated threats was from the local first responders, after which it was escalated to a state-wide level, with the National Guard Emergency response teams then activated. After initial searches for radiological, chemical or biological traces, results were communicated to the FBI WMD specialists who then coordinated state and federal agencies. Users on the scene practised detecting and identifying radiological hazards.
The exercises demonstrated; the importance of RIIDs that operate with speed and sensitivity of detection, provide accurate identification of radioactive material and have autonomous or semi-autonomous reach-back detection and analytical capabilities all to lessen the time operators are directly exposed to radiological hazards. Other conclusions from PATRIOT were that the CBRN specialists need detectors with high levels of endurance in extreme climates, and which are operable, often one handed, by a user in full PPE. All these are attributes of D3S ID and other products within the same range – the D5 RIID and the SIGMA system.
John Filby, from Kromek’s Pennsylvania office, who attended PATRIOT 21, said “it was particularly pleasing at the exercise debrief to hear participants praising Kromek’s D3S RIID’s speed, accuracy, connectivity and endurance. In one instance, a D3S ID which was idling in ‘snooze mode’ in an operator’s pocket correctly identified a radiological source before the RIID and survey meter that were actually being tested.”