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UK bioweapons project

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posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 04:38 PM
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At work the other day I was looking through the EU tenders site and happened upon this little gem:


Long-range stand-off BW Agent detection system
Researchers at DSTL Porton Down have designed and built a prototype stand-off biodetection system based upon the principles of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). It utilises an ultraviolet (UV) laser to detect, track and discriminate bio aerosol clouds at ranges of several kilometres by the collection and investigation of backscattered and induced fluorescent light from the target.


Link to screen grab

(sorry about the poor quality and small writing but I had to get the filesize down so it's been cropped and heavily compressed).

Notice also the size of the instrument, 0.5 cubic metres with a weight of no more than 200kg so it's portable and has a detection range of several kilometres so it can be used from a safe distance.

This could give us an idea of what the authorities are worried about, bio-aerosols. The tender was for a prototype to be built so this project must be fairly well advanced.

I found this pretty interesting, just thought i'd put it out and see what everyone else thinks of it? Prudence or a portent of things to come?

edit to add: You can't link directly to the tender document but the original can be found here if you do a search for DSTL (easier if you just use GB as country)

[edit on 12-9-2005 by Chris McGee]




posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 06:09 PM
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This could give us an idea of what the authorities are worried about, bio-aerosols. The tender was for a prototype to be built so this project must be fairly well advanced.


Nice find Chris.


Both of Dstl Porton Down's predecessors, the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment (CDEE) and the Microbiological Research Establishment (MRE) were research pioneers in the field of LIDAR detection of CW and BW agents, nearly 40 years ago.

During 1968 both organisations used South Dorset as a giant laboratory for long range LIDAR trials. The UK's dual use BW spray aircraft- the Icing Tanker Aircraft (Canberra WV787) flew along a straightline track across Lyme Bay, spraying vast amounts of bacteria. A prototype LIDAR was set up at a site in South Dorset overlooking Lyme Bay which successfully detected the resulting BW aerosol at distances up to 7 miles.

It would seem that this research declined for budgetary reasons during the 1970s, as did all types of UK BW early warning equipment research.

I find the distances quoted in the tender interesting; only 3 kilometres. This is obviously not a battlefield system, where distance of detection is all important. So that leaves the possibility that Dstl Porton Down are developing a short range LIDAR system for Home Defence use, as it is not in Dstl Porton Down's remit to develop CBW equipment for civilian use.

It is possible that this distance requirement for the technical demonstrator is just for a prototype. After all, 3 kilometres is about the maximum distance that a LIDAR can be safely tested during field trials at the Porton Range, near Salisbury.

And as they've already declared that they aren't spraying BW simulant bacteria in public areas nowadays, the Porton Range is the only place that bacterial aerosol field trials can take place in the UK.

Or is it?



zero lift



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 01:32 AM
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Thanks for the info, zero lift.

I'd agree that it doesn't seem to be a battlefield system (not primarily at least), seems to be more of an early warning system for civilian areas. Depending on the beam divergence it wouldn't take many of these to cover quite a large part of a city.

To me, it shows that they are taking the threat of bio-aerosols seriously which is slightly worrying in itself.

Since it scans in real-time, I did wonder if it was possible to team it up with some kind of anti-biological spray or sprinkler. Position anti-BW sprays around the city and if any nasties are detected by these things, the sprays in the affected areas go off. It might not eliminate the threat but it could diminsih it. (Don't know if it's possible though).



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 07:52 PM
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Since it scans in real-time, I did wonder if it was possible to team it up with some kind of anti-biological spray or sprinkler. Position anti-BW sprays around the city and if any nasties are detected by these things, the sprays in the affected areas go off. It might not eliminate the threat but it could diminsih it. (Don't know if it's possible though).


Porton scientists have been trying to find a substance that would act as you say for the past 50 years. One substance (hexylresorcinol) appears to have been pretty successful in enclosed spaces, but in the open it would be useless.

The trouble is that anything that would work against a bacterial spore (such as anthrax) would probably harm the population as well.


zero lift



posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 04:24 AM
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as long as man has feared invisible airborne threats we have employed what ever means were practical to [protect ourselves from such hazards

from the canary down the coal mine , now ssuperceded by electroniv gizmos that can insyantly sample the levels of several gasses

its the same with CBW , from the " chemical inicator " test strips that came with noddy suits and the electronic detectors that were near useless , we now have the west german ` fuchs` recce vehicle , which accorfing to a mate who has seen the beast - is the mutts nuts

now we have the tech - and more important the imperative to want such warning systems , development of such ` static ` systems capable of covering a vast area is a logical step now that CBW as a terrorist attack is now a posibility

i guess that once the military has paid for it - the tech will filter down to such things as :

pollen monitoring
industrial polution monitoring
etc



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