About Pentagon Tries Microwave Device To Stop Hi-Tech Roadside Bom
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Pentagon Tries Microwave Device To Stop Hi-Tech Roadside Bom info
October 9, 2005
By Jon Swain
THE Pentagon is experimenting with a device that uses microwaves to neutralise the roadside bombs that are fast becoming one of the biggest killers of American and British troops in Iraq.
Finding a way of dealing with the bombs has become one of the highest priorities of allied forces in Iraq following attacks of increasing explosive power and sophistication that have pushed the American death toll to almost 2,000 and the British one close to 100.
Tony Blair last week accused Iran of supplying the insurgents with the bombs, which are set off when passing vehicles break the infrared beams they emit. The prime minister’s charge is based in part on the use of similar devices by Iran’s Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, in its attacks on Israeli forces.
While much of the technology being tested by the Americans is still classified, Pentagon officials have confirmed that a system using a high-powered microwave device to detonate the bombs remotely has been developed and tested in America and is being sent to Iraq.
“We have come a long way in the last six to eight months and there is progress being made to get ahead of the tactics the enemy is using,” said Lieutenant-General John Sattler, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Most of the bombs encountered by allied forces early in the Iraq war were crude, using car key fobs or mobile phones as detonating devices.
But after 2˝ years of fighting, the insurgents have discovered ways of making their bombs not only invisible but far more deadly.
In the British sector in the south of Iraq increased intelligence and surveillance techniques are being used to determine when and where the bombs are planted. As with the Americans, they are looking for high-tech solutions.
*The Iraqi parliament is to be asked to lift the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by Hazem Shaalan, a former defence minister suspected of involvement in the disappearance of more than $1 billion from the ministry while he was in office between June 2004 and February 2005.
Shaalan, who lives in Britain, has strenuously rejected the accusations.