Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, are one of the largest sources of coalition casualties in Iraq. Many of these IEDs take the form of roadside bombs, which are hidden on or alongside a road, then detonated when a moving vehicle passes near them. While there is more than one way of causing these bombs to detonate, they are often set off by a hidden human observer, using a radio-control device. Forces using the new Vehicle Protection Jammer from EADS subsidiary Cassidian, however, should find themselves at a greatly-reduced risk of such attacks.
Military technology has created some fearsome weapons, such as the 5,000 lb GBU-28 Deep Throat
bunker buster, 15,000 lb BLU-82 Daisycutter
, 15,650 lb Russian ATBIP
(Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power), 22,000 lb Grand Slam earthquake bomb
, and the 22,600 lb GBU-43 MOAB
(Massive Ordnance Air Blast), but if you were hiding under 50 meters of hardened concrete, none of them were going to bother you. Not any more! The U.S. Air Force has just taken delivery of the first GBU-57A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator)
. It weighs 30,000 lb and will penetrate 200 ft of hardened concrete BEFORE it goes off. If you are reading this from an underground nuclear facility in Iran or North Korea, might we suggest some extended sick leave is (or soon will be) in order.
Scientists at Northwestern University, Illinois, have outlined a new method for detecting electromagnetic radiation at the high energy end of the spectrum. The work could lead to the development of a small, hand held device able to detect this "hard radiation" and has implications for the detection of radioactive materials which could potentially be employed in terrorist weapons
, such as nuclear bombs or radiological dispersion devices, as well as materials employed in clandestine nuclear programs.
Approximately sixty percent of coalition soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), placed along the roads. Because these bombs are often planted in public areas, it is important to detect them in a way that doesn’t harm the surrounding infrastructure, or unnecessarily require civilians to evacuate nearby buildings. Researchers from Michigan State University believe that a laser-based system that they developed could fit the bill.
We’ve told you before about CCTV programs that can identify criminal behavior
, or that skip through footage where nothing’s happening
. Now, a consortium of ten organizations from six European countries is working on another concept involving video monitoring of public spaces. It’s called the SUBITO project, for Surveillance of Unattended Baggage and the Identification and Tracking of the Owner, and it’s intended to do pretty much what the name suggests. Installed in existing security camera systems at places such as airports or train stations, the software will identify baggage that has been left unattended, and that could therefore possibly contain an explosive device. It will then search back to identify the person who deposited that baggage, then follow them forward through various cameras to establish their present location.
Casualties in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have dropped as the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected
(MRAP) vehicles has increased, but with roadside bombs still responsible for the majority of casualties
to coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is a need for a smaller, more nimble version more suited to its rugged, mountainous terrain. A new concept that would see military vehicles built around a protected personnel compartment and use a sacrificial “blast wedge” to absorb energy could improve safety for the occupants of future light armored patrol vehicles.
Sensors that quickly detect chemicals used to make bombs are being developed by scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast. The devices will use special gel pads to "swipe" a person or crime scene to gather a sample which is then analyzed by a scanning instrument that can detect the presence of chemicals within seconds, much quicker than current analysis methods. This will allow better, faster decisions to be made in response to terrorist threats. The team is also working on devices that detect illegal drugs and will hopefully be deployed by police as roadside drug "breathalyzers".
Not that it's particularly likely, but as long as nuclear bombs exist, there's the chance - however slim - that one might go off somewhere near you. This little Google Maps overlay might be a bit morbid, but it's also pretty fascinating. It shows you the heat, pressure and fallout spread of a range of different nuclear bombs detonating anywhere in the world. It's particularly sobering to get a sense of the scale of the devastation caused by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs in World War 2 - and then see how tiny those bombs are compared to the USSR's enormous Tsar Bomba, the biggest nuke ever detonated.
Boeing has begun delivering the first Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) kits to the U.S. Air Force. The Precision Laser Guidance Set (PLGS) kits have been created inside just 11 months to satisfy the Air Force and Navy's urgent need for weapons capable of engaging fast-moving land targets. The US$47,000 PLGS gives a JDAM with a 500 pound warhead the ability to hit a target travelling at up to 70 mph. It’s quite an amazing piece of engineering because the PLGS kit goes in the nose, and the US$22,000 JDAM kit fits to the tail of what was once a very dumb bomb. The JDAM kit offers both GPS and inertial navigation, and the PLGS adds laser, meaning it only takes US$67,000 to make a dumb bomb much smarter.
April 2, 2008 Splinternet Holdings is introducing a new "dirty bomb" detection system that manages a network of solid state GammaTect radiation sensors which send real-time notifications to command centers as soon as the presence of threat-level gamma rays is detected.