Under FICCI-DRDO ATAC programme, a US-based firm, Crowe and Company, has entered into a licensing agreement with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to acquire technology for explosive detection kits. The licensing agreement was facilitated by FICCI under DRDO-FICCI ATAC Programme.
The EDK technology was developed by High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL), a constituent laboratory under DRDO. DRDO had developed the kit for quick detection and identification of explosives based on any combination of nitro-esters, nitramines, trinitrotoluene (TNT), dynamite or black powder. It can detect and identify explosives based on Nitramines, Nitrate esters, Nitroaromatics, and the current threat i.e Inorganic Nitrates. This includes a wide range of commonly used explosives like RDX, HMX. PETN. Dynamite, Tetryl, Nitroglycerine, Ammonium Nitrates etc. The testing requires only 3 - 5 mg of suspected sample and 3 - 4 drops of reagents. Both primary and confirmatory tests are provided in the Kit. The test results can be obtained in 2-3 minutes in field conditions as well as in laboratory conditions at ambient temperature. The versatility of the EDK is its efficiency in both pre-blast and post-blast scenario even in contaminated conditions. One of the salient features of EDK is its ability to detect combinations of explosives in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).Plastic explosives based on RDX fail to be detected by most electronic detectors, but EDK being a chemical based kit can efficiently detect plastic explosives. The technology is being used by bomb detection squads of the Indian Army, paramilitary forces and police in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat and other states within India.
Subsequent to the execution of licensing agreement, the said US firm has started manufacturing of explosive detection kit with the assistance of DRDO scientists. Upon successful evaluation of the EDK technology by the US Homeland Agencies, the US firm is willing to supply these detection kits to US Defence and Homeland Security Agencies.
FICCI is organizing a function on 02nd August 2013 at Washington, USA to officially launch the EDK technology in US market. This will be a very proud moment for all of us as first time US defence and homeland security agencies will be using a technology developed by DRDO lab.