Developing the next generation of chemical detection systems for strategic situational awareness

Chicago skyline in the fog

SRI International secures sole award for MAEGLIN Phase 2’s Forensic Identification Track

In today’s turbulent times, society faces a variety of threats, one of the most lethal being chemical agents. As chemical agents are generally invisible to the naked eye and can spread rapidly, government agencies have made developing advanced chemical detection technologies a priority.

In 2016, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), an activity within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), launched the MAEGLIN program, and Phase 1 contracts were awarded in 2017. Short for Molecular Analyzer for Efficient Gas-Phase Low-Power Interrogation – MAEGLIN is a multi-year program intended to create a next generation chemical analysis platform that is capable of unattended environmental sampling and high-accuracy chemical identification in long endurance deployments in a lower size, weight and power package than currently available technologies. MAEGLIN Phase 1 was completed in January of 2018.

MAEGLIN Phase 2 builds on the Phase 1 developments and focuses on a demonstration of low-power collection, separation and identification of chemical agents in an integrated system in two different tracks, the higher-performance Forensic Identification (FID) track for 1.5L maximum volume systems, and the lower-performance Screening Identification (SID) track for 0.5L maximum volume systems. Phase 1 of MAEGLIN was awarded to multiple entities. In Phase 2 IARPA selected SRI as the sole recipient of a FID track Phase 2 award, worth $6.8M.

Under MAEGLIN Phase 2, SRI will lead a joint collaborative two-year effort called Autonomous CHemical IntelLigence for Long Endurance MissionS (ACHILLES) in partnership with BAE Systems and the University of Michigan.

Asked about his thoughts on receiving the award, Ashish Chaudhary, PhD, director of SRI’s Chemical Sensing Laboratory and principal investigator (PI)/program manager (PM) of the ACHILLES project stated,

“We are honored and proud to be working closely with our nation’s top academic and industry CBRNE [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive materials] experts for this extremely challenging and ambitious IARPA program to deliver high-value chemical intelligence to the U.S. intelligence community.”

Bill Jeffrey, CEO, SRI stated,

“SRI is committed to the CBRNE detection space for national security. MAEGLIN calls for unparalleled innovation and system engineering, and we are proud to be selected as the lead integrator based on our micro mass spectrometer technology.”

More information on the IARPA MAEGLIN program can be found on the pages below:

Read more from SRI