Saturday, March 12, 2005

NDM Article - Stryker Brigade in Iraq Will Protect Bases With Remote-Controlled Mines

NDM Article - Stryker Brigade in Iraq Will Protect Bases With Remote-Controlled Mines

The Army Stryker brigade now fighting in Iraq will be first in line to receive a new radio-frequency kit that allows soldiers to detonate mines from several kilometers away.

The technology, called “Matrix,” essentially turns old-fashioned mines into standoff munitions. It was developed by the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal, in New Jersey, to meet growing base-security needs in Iraq. “Matrix allows them to cover their flanks and protect their base of operations with fewer soldiers,” said Maj. Joe Hitt, the project lead.

Matrix consists of three components: a touch-screen laptop, a radio transmitter and a munitions-control assembly that attaches to a Claymore antipersonnel mine. When detonated, the Claymore spits out steel balls out in a fan-shaped pattern, with a lethal radius of about 50 meters.

While Hitt declined to specify the exact range of the radio signal, he noted that, “Matrix allows hundreds of Claymores and non-lethal Claymores to be controlled by a single laptop at extended ranges. By touch-screen command, the operator can initiate any combination of effects at standoff ranges instantaneously.

Tactics for using Matrix were developed by the Army Engineering School. The devices will primarily be used for fixed-site security at forward operating bases. “Layers of non-lethal followed by layers of lethal is one example,” said Hitt. The Stryker brigade will get 25 systems by May, he added.

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