The United Nation Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) is observing an increasing frequency of terrorist attacks on so-called "soft targets" such as urban centers. Attacks with weapons of mass destruction such as chemical (combat) substances are of particular concern, as high casualty figures and serious consequences are likely. Flexible and efficient reconnaissance systems are necessary to be able to react quickly and purposefully in an emergency and thus to keep the damage to the population as low as possible. Available airborne chemical detection systems are not designed for this type of complex and time- critical operations and only have limited sensor capacities and capabilities for data analysis.
As a flexibly deployable UAV-based reconnaissance system, C-SALS is intended to support (disaster) relief forces by generating a 3D situational map for tactical planning and decision making. An extensive sensor suite consisting of onboard gas sensors, a powerful stand-off detector, (lowerable) sampling devices and a high-precision laser scanner are used on a heavy-duty UAV (Schiebel CAMCOPTER®S-100) suitable for military missions. The main advantages are that (i) scenarios with both heavy and light gases can be addressed, (ii) the 3D environment model provides indications of potentially dangerous areas and supports flight maneuvers, (iii) gas samples can be collected with minimal interference of downwash and hover effects, and (iv) care is taken to prevent potential contamination of expensive specialized equipment.
In C-SALS, basic procedures and methods for UAV-based air tracing for detection, identification and quantification of gasses are to be raised to TRL 3 to TRL 5. The market environment for potential applications is characterized by growing dynamics due to the intensifying threat of terrorist attacks, which creates pull-factor once mature products are available. The industrial partners also see opportunities to adapt the system to other market segments and thus to increase the marketing potential.