The US Air Force (USAF) Civil Engineer Center’s (AFCEC) Readiness Lab has identified ways to continue the use of expired M295 decontamination kits used in chemical defence ensembles.

Reuse of the expired yet effective 75,000 kits has saved the USAF more than $2.3m over a four-year period.

A M295 kit soaks up chemical contamination using an activated carbon, alumina-silicate powder and loop-cinched mitt.

Each year, expired kits are removed from field use.

However, approximately 167,000 unused kits valued at $4.8m will achieve their five-year shelf life this year.

M295 study lead contract researcher Bruce Salter said: “The tests would’ve cost roughly $250,000 if they were sent to an outside lab. We completed the study for $75,000.”

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This aided the launch of a two-year study to determine the performance of the kits by the civil engineer (CE) laboratory of AFCEC’s Readiness Directorate’s Emergency Management Division at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB).

Prior to the study, the USAF spent $15.3m to purchase 496,000 new kits to meet airforce training goals.

The USAF will acquire expired M295 kits and use the economically viable method to reuse the kits.

M295 chemical and biological warfare defence lead researcher Dr Jeff Owens said: “The CE lab is responsive to the needs of our customers, the CE enterprise.

“Whether we’re working on ways to improve air quality in expeditionary shelters or extending the shelf life of a lifesaving kit, we enable civil engineers worldwide to execute their missions safely, efficiently and more cost-effectively.”