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Cooperative Research and Innovation Projects >Call 2018 >


Modelling of the atmospheric dispersion of CBRN warfare agents and improved operational picture through sensor data evaluation

When deployed under CBRN threat, the Austrian Army currently uses procedures that offer a rough assessment of hazardous areas for the purpose of immediate warning of endangered troop units. The necessary information regarding location and type of attacks with the release of warfare agents and hazardous material is based on the evaluation of observation reports compiled and transmitted by soldiers. 

However, nuclear detonations whose effects potentially endanger Austrian forces are not always sufficiently characterised by direct observation or available information. The project ABC-MAUS in such cases will provide the location and detonation strength through the use of geophysical technics (seismic, infrasound). Here the International Monitoring System of the CTBTO (Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization) and ZAMG’s recordings serve as data basis. 

Models based on analytical equations available in the CBRN information system are able to quickly define local hazardous areas after ground-level nuclear detonations or after CBRN warfare agent attacks and the release of CBRN hazardous material. However, this method requires simplifications to be made that ignore potentially relevant effects, which is compensated for by defining very conservative and hence broad safety zones resulting in the definition of excessively large areas requiring protective measures or evacuation. The CBRN situation overview should be refined using more complex (atmospheric dispersion) models and including larger scales. 

An unobserved attack with CBRN hazardous materials can only be recognised by its effect or with the precautionary use of sensors. The location and time of the agent’s release is unknown and the currently used procedures deliver extremely large hazardous areas. An optimised use of mobile sensors and measurement devices in conjunction with modern methods of atmospheric forward and backward modelling should enable a reduction in the size of these areas. 

There is therefore a need in ABC-IS to introduce previously unavailable models and approaches to determine the event location and characteristics as well as the large-scale consequences for nuclear atmospheric detonations and the source term of nuclear and non-nuclear releases of warfare agents and hazardous materials using deployable sensors. 

The deliverables of this project are (1) a toolbox of models and procedures to improve the CBRN situational overview, (2) a concept and a test plan for a secure network of deployable sensors, and (3) a concept and laboratory prototype of an extension of the CBRN information system for the exploitation of the research results for the Austrian army.