About Military Tests Non-Fatal Ways To Halt Vehicles
|November 27th, 2006||#1|
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Military Tests Non-Fatal Ways To Halt Vehicles info
November 27, 2006
Civilians in Iraq often stray into danger by going past checkpoints
By William M. Welch
Two teams of military engineers competed to come up with a solution to a problem U.S. troops face daily in Iraq — how to stop civilian vehicles that blunder past checkpoints without destroying the vehicles or killing their occupants.
Maj. Gen. Ted Bowlds, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, said that after a little refinement, the teams' devices probably will be used in Iraq.
“These young researchers have come up with some pretty good, innovative ideas,” Bowlds said. “My guess is, based on what I've seen, bits and pieces of what we've found here will find their way out there (to Iraq) in some fashion.”
On a test range in the Arizona desert Nov. 10, Air Force Research Laboratory engineers used remote-controlled automobiles and high-speed cameras to test four devices they designed to halt oncoming traffic by non-lethal means.
A team of junior officers and civilian military engineers from Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico was declared the winner for a pair of devices that literally lift an onrushing car off the ground, bringing it to an almost instant stop from a speed of 35 mph.
Bowlds said the Kirtland team's devices might be used in combination with elements of the designs produced by the competing team from Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
The teams of six engineers and scientists, all with less than five years' military experience, were given six months and $60,000 to come up with prototypes to help solve a frequent problem on the ground in Iraq.
Hundreds of cars and pickups pass through U.S. military checkpoints every day. Civilians have been injured and killed when they failed to stop as requested and were fired on.
Troops trying to halt such vehicles are told to shoot at the engine block to disable the car, and if they miss, “they might hit something more important,” said Capt. Chris Rehm, leader of the winning team from Kirtland.
“We're looking for some kind of non-lethal device we could give them,” he said.
The teams came up with relatively similar solutions, despite working without knowing what the other was doing, said Mark Lewis, chief scientist of the Air Force.
*A wooden wedge placed in the roadway with barricades channeling traffic directly to it. If the vehicle does not stop and strikes the wedge, it is lifted up and slides to a stop, leaving the wheels of the vehicle off the ground and its undercarriage resting on the wooden wedge.
*A “sled” consisting of two low-lying aluminum boxes with air bags inside and grappling hooks at one end. When a vehicle passes over it, a soldier controlling the checkpoint can remotely activate the device, causing the hooks to latch to the front bumper and the airbags to deploy. The car is lifted off the ground by the airbags as the device drags along underneath the vehicle.
*A pair of devices made of steel tubing, one of them shaped like a triangle that rises up when struck, lifting the car's wheels off the ground.
The first two solutions won. The tests were conducted on sedans, an SUV and a van — typical civilian vehicles encountered by troops in Iraq.
They were carried out at a proving ground near Sierra Vista, Ariz., operated by Raytheon. The southern Arizona site was selected both to replicate Iraqi conditions and because the facility is a hub for the development of vehicles operated by remote control. Because the stops can be violent, the military did not want to use manned vehicles.
In addition to seeking a solution to a frequent problem, the Air Force conducted the competition as part of a program to develop expertise among junior military and civilian researchers and engineers who work for the research laboratory.
Lewis, the service's top scientist at the Pentagon, said the Air Force Research Laboratory tries to anticipate technologies of the future, and “at the same time, we've got folks out in the battlefield now whose needs we are trying to answer.
“One of the things the lab is looking at is how we can respond more immediately to problems we're facing today,” Lewis said.
“We're concerned about saving as many lives as we can.”
|November 28th, 2006||#3|
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Or a big ass robotic arm swinging a giant cricket bat. Go Aussies, beat those pommie bastards... sorry just had to get that in.
"The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." - John Steinbeck