Chemists in Liberec acquire ultra-modern laboratory

Autor: Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

The 31st Regiment of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection, based in Liberec, last week received a specially manufactured mobile laboratory with cutting edge technologies. The laboratory was funded by the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) and delivered by Brigadier General Dawne Deskins, its Deputy Commander, as part of a project to support the capabilities of foreign armed forces. The laboratory cost CZK 160 million.

The laboratory consists of two containers; a chemical and radiometric laboratory, one of which can be adapted. The laboratory will bolster the capabilities of military chemists in the detection, identification and analysis of toxic and radioactive agents, drugs and explosives. It can be used in the Czech Republic or abroad.

31st CBRN Regiment in Liberec

It will also assist the Czech Integrated Rescue System, among others, in the detection of industrial toxin leakage. This state of the art equipment will improve the forensic efficiency of teams collecting and analysing samples. Should an unknown explosive device system be detected, the laboratory can also help identify any imminent leakage danger.

The No. 1 laboratory within NATO

This is the only laboratory of its kind in Europe. It is equipped with the most advanced analytic system and, as a result, specialists can, from a single drop of blood, distinguish even the smallest molecule of a combat chemical agent; identify emissions after an explosion, e.g. from sand, determine chemicals in any type of drug. The instruments can also detect drug abuse from a blood sample extracted from plasma or hair.

According to First Lieutenant Dusan Trefilik, Chief of the Chemical Laboratory, the newly delivered laboratory differs from the previous one, particularly concerning the level of analysis sensitivity. "We are seeing a completely different and deeper level of analysis, with an even more precise identification of a sample," he said. "My team will be capable of identifying an agent even in concentrations of nanograms per milliliter, which could not be achieved by our former laboratory," explained 1st Lt. Trefilik.

Three years from design to production

"I am very happy that this project has come to fruition. We submitted a construction plan of the new laboratory in 2013. USAREUR had classified our project as a priority for funding, production and delivery and, today, after three years of development and manufacturing, we are extremely pleased to take possession of the laboratory," explained Colonel Radek Cerny, Commander of the 31st Regiment.

"It was a great honour for me to supervise the entire development and production process, and the delivery of the laboratory to your regiment. I am immensely proud of the cooperation between the US and Czech military, and for the competence you have shown during this project which is highly significant for this collaboration," said Brigadier General Dawne Deskins.

By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

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Web site of the United States Army Europe:

Web site of the 31st CBRN Regiment in Liberec:

October 17, 2016