[DRDO Press Statement]: An American firm has shown keen interest in an Explosive Detection Kit (EDK) developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). An agreement on transfer of technology is likely to be signed soon between the two sides. The EDK, developed by the DRDO's High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune, comes packed in a box the size of a vanity case which contains four reagents capable of detecting explosives even in trace quantities. It can be used to identify a range of explosives such as PETN, Black Powder, Dynamite, NC, NG, CE, Inorganic Mitrates, TNT, RDX and HMX based plastic explosives. The EDK kit can be easily carried to the spot and is found useful both before and after the blast. When the explosive substance is mixed with the different chemical reagents given in the kit, the drop turns into specific colour as given out in the instruction leaflet. Verification can normally follow using the Raman spectrometric test. Costing about Rs 5,000 (less than $100) apiece, the EDK is being commercially made by Noida-based Vantage Integrated Security Solutions Pvt Ltd under a Transfer of Technology pact with the DRDO. It is being widely used by the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads of the Army, Paramilitary and state Police Forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The American firm is soon to enter into an MoU with the DRDO, which has patented its EDK. "The Americans have their own EDK kits but the foreign technology has certain drawbacks, for example they lack confirmatory test," said Reny Roy (photo), a scientist at the HEMRL. "Since they use a test paper instead of liquid drops, that's another disadvantage as the test paper is not long lasting and gets torn," she added. Following the success of the EDK, scientists at HEMRL, Pune have now developed an aerosol based EDK kit that costs around the same price as the conventional EDK kit and has the advantage of being more portable, convenient and trendy. Another Use-and-Throw kit with reagents packed in the kind of medicinal injection bottles has also been produced, the cost of which works out around Rs.1,800 for each set.