Tethered, Remotely Controlled Sensors to Improve Force Protection

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During the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) Equipment Demonstration held in the UK last month, the Ministry of Defense displayed some of the latest types of equipment being use by the British Army on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the new features demonstrated here was the new protected outpost called ‘Super sanger’, fitted with modern remotely controlled weapon station (RWS) as seen in the picture above. According to Major Donald Hodgson, Capability Integration Manager at the Equipment Directorate Land Forces a Super sanger is built of three ISO containers stacked on top of each other with the RWS fitted on top of that. (shown in the left photo). “In total, they come in at around 10 feet with a daylight camera and a thermal imagery camera to allow soldiers to sit inside the structure protected by bullet-proof windows. This gives us the method of providing enhanced optical capability as well as being able to fire weapons from inside a protected area.” says Hodgson.

Another addition to base protection in the form of camp surveillance is ‘Cortez’, currently being developed at the Land Warfare Centre in Netheravon, and is planned to be rolled out to Afghanistan throughout 2009. Cortez uses sensors to protect FOBs, large camps, Observation Posts and Patrol Bases. This sensor suite includes mast-mounted or aerostat-borne sensors (mostly EO cameras). Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Falkner, from ISTAR Operations and Training anticipates that with the introduction of Cortez assets, FOB manpower could be reduced, as many security tasks could be eliminated by the system. “troops could be released to do other things.

Operators will be able to watch troops on the ground from further distances with the new and improved equipment which will significantly extend the range of visibility.” says Col. Flanker. The new system will be manned by Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) from the Territorial Army (TA) who will provide specialist advice to operators from the regular Army. It is expected that the latest generation of Cortez will be up and running by 2009 and will be syndicated across bases throughout the year.

The mobility of troops and supplies is improving with the introduction of better protected logistical vehicles and dedicated vehicles designed for mobility cross-country and in urban terrain. The new Snatch-Vixen (above), an upgraded version of the armored LandRover uses heavier axels to carry additional armor and more payload in theatre. The vehicle also has better mine protection. The RWMIK (below) with its new built in armor was also on display, with the new Jackal (above), which has been deployed in Afghanistan with 16 Air Assault Brigade’s Pathfinder Platoon and the Household Calvary Regiment.


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