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Detection of Explosives and Toxic Agents


Development of Mobile System for Detection, Localization and Destruction of Explosives and Identification of Toxic Agents Inside of Suspect Objects, which are Found in Public Places

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation
  • MAT-EXP/Explosives/Materials
  • PHY-NGD/Fluid Mechanics and Gas Dynamics/Physics
  • PHY-SSP/Solid State Physics/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Krylov Central Research Institute, Russia, St Petersburg

Supporting institutes

  • Scientific and Technical Center RATEC, Russia, St Petersburg\nClose Corporation "NPO Specialnykh Materialov", Russia, St Petersburg


  • Thermo Electron Corporation, USA, CA, San Diego\nScientific Utilization Inc., USA, AL, Huntsville\nSKY TREK Aviation, USA, CA, Modesto\nTNA Detection Systems LLC, USA, CA, Sonora

Project summary

The threat of terrorist acts involving explosives has been lately increasing in various regions. The analysis of these developments shows, that they were prepared and realized by highly qualified experts utilizing the latest explosives and remote control devices. At the same time, the existing techniques for explosives detection and destruction have number major drawbacks, first of all, low effectiveness of explosives detection and great risks involved in explosives neutralization process. The above considerations illustrate the urgency of development of modern technical systems highly instrumental in fighting terrorism.

The aim of the project is the development a mobile system for safer and more effective detection, localization and destruction of explosives and identification of toxic agents inside suspect objects found in public places.

The concept of the proposed system involves:

- Increasing of safety for professional sappers and civil population in the process of neutralization of explosive assemble;
- Reliable detection of explosives if their mass exceeds some minimum value;
- Destructing most explosives on the place of their location, without having to transport them.

The system will consist of the following components:

- Mobile short focus X-ray system — for initial testing suspicious objects to check if they contain high-density elements, which could possibly be explosives;
- Analyzer — device for explosives and toxic agents detection inside suspicious object and explosives mass estimation;
- Destroyer — device for explosives destruction without their detonation;
- Inhibitor — the device to reduce risks for surrounding people, equipment and buildings in case of unexpected explosives detonation.

The system should consist of functionally and constructively coordinated devices. Safe techniques of explosives and toxic agents detection, which could be possibly modified and supplemented with other devices, will be developed.

The explosives and toxic agents detection is based on some neutron analysis methods: Thermal Neutron Analysis (TNA), Fast Neutron Analysis (FNA), Pulsed Fast Neutron Analysis (PFNA), Fast Neutron Analysis with API and mobile short-focus X-ray system for initial inspection of suspect objects in order to determine the presence of specific-density materials, such as explosive materials, and for the detection of detonators.

Within the framework of this project, a research plan will be realized enabling:

- to improve the technology of non-contact explosives and toxic agents detection;

- to increase the probability of destruction of explosive assembly;

- to develop the prototype of a mobile system for safer and more effective detection, localization and destruction of explosives and identification of toxic agents inside suspect objects found in public places.

The system will be developed on the basis of:

- fifteen-year experience of Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute in sea-mine detection by nuclear methods;

- joint experience of Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute and STC Ratec in development of a combined device for the detection of unauthorised transportation of explosive, fissionable and radioactive materials;

- Ratec’s experience in developing systems for explosive detection in carry-on luggage of air passengers;

- ZAO “NPO SM” experience in creation of explosive localization and explosives destruction systems.

It will allow to make use of experience on creation of basic component of similar devices for significant expansion of the functionalities of new system and for achievement of its high efficiency and reliability. For the decision of this problems the experts with the big experience (in the field of the neutron analysis, gamma spectrometry, interactions of shock waves with barrier and physics of explosive processes) are involved.

The project is instrumental in realizing the objectives set by the ISTC and enables the scientists and experts from Russia concerned with development of weapons to pursue peaceful goals in their research and contribute to the development of the most modern security systems to fight terrorisms.

The project will involve the following major stages:

- Fulfillment of research into techniques of non-contact detection, identification and estimation of explosive and toxic agents mass in suspicious subjects found in public places;

- Fulfillment of research into techniques aimed at localization of explosive, antipersonnel and thermal action of the explosives with mass up to 2 kg (in TNT equivalent);

- Fulfillment of research into techniques of mechanical destruction of explosives employing powder destroyer;

- Developing and manufacturing the mobile combined system prototype;

- Carrying out laboratory and ground tests of the prototype to define its essential characteristics.

Expected performance specification of the system:

- Maximum size of checked subjects: 520×500×400 mm (length, width, height);

- Minimum detectable explosives mass (containing not less than 25% nitrogen) - 400 grams (to be specified during the project) with identification time being not more than 600 seconds;

- Minimum detectable mass of toxic agents is not more than 500 grams (mass and the list of toxic agents will be specified during the project);

- Reduction of superfluous pressure at the front of air shock wave up to a level 50 kPa (barotraumas level) on distance from explosives mass (in TNT equivalent) 2 kg - 4 meters, 1.5 kg - 3.2 meters, 1 kg - 2.5 meters;

- Reduction of antipersonnel flow at grenade explosion (such as Russian hand grenade) not less than on 90 %;

- Mass of one inhibitor section is not more than 10 kg;

- Time of the system adjustment is 5-20 minutes.

Above mentioned works are supposed to be executed in cooperation with private firms and research institutes of the USA via information exchange at joint seminars, participation of their representatives in tests of the prototype of the system and technical supervising by the ISTC employees.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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