What’s Next in National Security Robo-Snipers, AutoKillZones

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What’s Next in National Security Robo-Snipers, AutoKillZones

Postby General Patton » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:53 pm

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2007/06/for_years_and_y/


For years and years, the Israeli military has been trying to figure out a way to keep Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip from crossing over into Israel proper. The latest tactic: create a set of "automated kill zones" by networking together remote-controlled machine guns, ground sensors, and drones along the 60-kilometer border.

Defense News‘ Barbara Opall-Rome reports that "initial deployment plans for the See-Shoot system call for mounting a 0.5-caliber automated machine gun in each of several pillboxes interspersed along the Gaza border fence."

Connected via fiber optics to a remote operator station and a command-and-control center, each machine gun-mounted station serves as a type of robotic sniper, capable of enforcing a nearly 1,500-meter-deep no-go zone.

The IDF’s [Israeli Defense Forces] Southern Command is also considering adding Gill/Spike anti-tank missiles to extend the no-go zones to several kilometers, defense and industry sources here said.

The guns will be based on the Samson Remote Control Weapons Station. And the pillboxes are supposed to be positioned "at intervals of some hundreds of meters along the border, " Jane’s Defence Weekly
observes. They’ll be "protected and secured (alarms, sensors and steel doors) and feature retractable armored covers that protect the weapon station when not in use."

Once IDF sensors locate a potential target, the operator can cue Sentry Tech to verify or engage the target through its own electro-optic (EO) day/night sensor package. The sensor-acquired information is transferred to the electro-optic package of the weapon station, which slews to the target, enabling the operator to locate and track the target… Each Sentry Tech can cover another in the event of a system failure and a single [center] can control up to 15 weapon stations."

The idea, ultimately, is to have a
"closed-loop" system — no human intervention required. But,
Opall-Rome notes, "until the top brass is completely satisfied with the fidelity of their overlapping sensor network – and until the
19- and 20-year-old soldiers deployed behind computer screens are thoroughly trained in operating the system — approval by a commanding officer will be required before pushing the kill button."

Opall-Rome adds that "See-Shoot embodies the IDF’s goal of waging no-signature warfare along its border areas. It obviates the need to dispatch infantry to intercept intruders or to respond to probing maneuvers by enemy squads."

The nearly $4-million system is supposed to be completed by the end of the summer. "But the Israeli government has already authorized IDF
Southern Command to begin operating parts of the system in response to the recent surge in violence emanating from the terror-infested strip."

It’s all part of a larger plan to "wag[e] no-signature warfare along its border areas. It obviates the need to dispatch infantry to intercept intruders or to respond to probing maneuvers by enemy squads."

Which may sound like a good idea. But Haninah Levine says the tech ignores the lessons of last summer’s war in Lebanon. The Winograd Commission, appointed to investigate the conflict, "calls ‘no-signature warfare’ by its real name," he says: "’withdrawal of soldiers and military targets from positions to which [the enemy] can penetrate with relative ease,’ and identifies this strategy as a major component in the IDF’s failures in the lead-up to the Second Lebanon
War."

The problem is not that the technology fails: it’s that the technology does not solve the problems which the conditions of engagement create. Along the Lebanese border, the problem was that the rules of engagement allowed the IDF to fire only if attacked by Hezbollah: the electronic fence therefore proved useless, since alarms were regularly ignored even when the Israelis knew that they indicated Hezbollah was preparing an attack.

Along the Gaza fence, the rules of engagement are much more aggressive, but the Palestinians will still probably try to "train" the IDF to ignore the system’s alarms by sending unarmed civilians towards the fence. The statement that "the technology here is not as important as the need to evaluate each potential threat on a case by case basis" is as true from a military point of view as it is from a human-rights point of view. And, by the way, the only known case of Palestinians kidnapping an Israeli soldier along the Gaza fence since the disengagement took place when the Palestinians emerged from a tunnel well behind the IDF lines - a tactic which this system would do nothing to thwart."
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Postby elfismiles » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:59 pm

thought this atrocity was familiar ... had seen an article on it back in 2008 but the OP was even earlier, 2007.

Where is the puke emoticon?

How long till DARPA proposes mounting such turrets on top of cell/microwave towers?


Israeli “Auto Kill Zone” Towers Locked and Loaded
By Noah Shachtman December 5, 2008 | 10:00 am | Categories: Crime and Homeland Security, Israel, Weapons and Ammo

Image

On the U.S.-Mexico border, the American government has been trying, with limited success, to set up a string of sensor-laden sentry towers, which would watch out for illicit incursions. In Israel, they’ve got their own set of border towers. But the Sabras’ model comes with automatic guns, operated from afar.

The Sentry Tech towers are basically remote weapons stations, stuck on stop of silos. "As suspected hostile targets are detected and within range of Sentry-Tech positions, the weapons are slewing toward the designated target," David Eshel describes over at Ares. "As multiple stations can be operated by a single operator, one or more units can be used to engage the target, following identification and verification by the commander."

We flagged the towers last year, as the Israeli Defense Forces were setting up the systems, designed to create 1500-meter deep "automated kill zones" along the Gaza border.

"Each unit mounts a 7.62 or 0.5" machine gun, shielded from enemy fire and the elements by an environmentally protective bulletproof canopy," Eshel explains. "In addition to the use of direct fire machine guns, observers can also employ precision guided missiles, such as Spike LR optically guided missiles and Lahat laser guided weapons."

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/12 ... i-auto-ki/

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Re: What’s Next in National Security Robo-Snipers, AutoKillZones

Postby elfismiles » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:18 pm


Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield (video)
Nation Forges Ahead in Deploying Unmanned Military Vehicles by Air, Sea and Land

By CHARLES LEVINSON
(See Corrections & Amplifications below).

TEL AVIV, Israel – Israel is developing an army of robotic fighting machines that offers a window onto the potential future of warfare.

Sixty years of near-constant war, a low tolerance for enduring casualties in conflict, and its high-tech industry have long made Israel one of the world's leading innovators of military robotics.

WSJ's Charles Levinson reports from Jerusalem to discuss Israel's development of robotic, unmanned combat systems. He tells Simon Constable on the News Hub how they are deploying unmanned boats, ground vehicles and aerial vehicles.


"We're trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield for each platoon in the field," says Lt. Col. Oren Berebbi, head of the Israel Defense Forces' technology branch. "We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk."

In 10 to 15 years, one-third of Israel's military machines will be unmanned, predicts Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., one of Israel's leading weapons manufacturers.

"We are moving into the robotic era," says Mr. Katz.

Over 40 countries have military-robotics programs today. The U.S. and much of the rest of the world is betting big on the role of aerial drones: Even Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite guerrilla force in Lebanon, flew four Iranian-made drones against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War.

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it had just a handful of drones. Today, U.S. forces have around 7,000 unmanned vehicles in the air and an additional 12,000 on the ground, used for tasks including reconnaissance, airstrikes and bomb disposal.

In 2009, for the first time, the U.S. Air Force trained more "pilots" for unmanned aircraft than for manned fighters and bombers.

U.S. and Japanese robotics programs rival Israel's technological know-how, but Israel has shown it can move quickly to develop and deploy new devices, to meet battlefield needs, military officials say.

"The Israelis do it differently, not because they're more clever than we are, but because they live in a tough neighborhood and need to respond fast to operational issues," says Thomas Tate, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who now oversees defense cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.

Among the recently deployed technologies that set Israel ahead of the curve is the Guardium unmanned ground vehicle, which now drives itself along the Gaza and Lebanese borders. The Guardium was deployed to patrol for infiltrators in the wake of the abduction of soldiers doing the same job in 2006. The Guardium, developed by G-nius Ltd., is essentially an armored off-road golf cart with a suite of optical sensors and surveillance gear. It was put into the field for the first time 10 months ago.

In the 2006 Lebanon War, Israeli soldiers took a beating opening supply routes and ferrying food and ammunition through hostile territory to the front lines. In the Gaza conflict in January 2009, Israel unveiled remote-controlled bulldozers to help address that issue.

More on Israel

David Furst/AFP for The Wall Street Journal.

Israel pioneered the use of aerial drones like the Heron, under construction, above, at Israeli Aerospace Industries.
WSJ.com/Mideast: News, video, graphics


Within the next year, Israeli engineers expect to deploy the voice-commanded, six-wheeled Rex robot, capable of carrying 550 pounds of gear alongside advancing infantry.

After bomb-laden fishing boats tried to take out an Israeli Navy frigate off the coast off Gaza in 2002, Rafael designed the Protector SV, an unmanned, heavily armed speedboat that today makes up a growing part of the Israeli naval fleet. The Singapore Navy has also purchased the boat and is using it in patrols in the Persian Gulf.

After Syrian missile batteries in Lebanon took a heavy toll on Israeli fighter jets in the 1973 war, Israel developed the first modern unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.

When Israel next invaded Lebanon in 1981, the real-time images provided by those unmanned aircraft helped Israel wipe out Syrian air defenses, without a single downed pilot. The world, including the U.S., took notice.

The Pentagon set aside its long-held skepticism about the advantages of unmanned aircraft and, in the early 1980s, bought a prototype designed by former Israeli Air Force engineer Abraham Karem. That prototype morphed into the modern-day Predator, which is made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

Unlike the U.S. and other militaries, where UAVs are flown by certified, costly-to-train fighter pilots, Israeli defense companies have recently built their UAVs to allow an average 18-year-old recruit with just a few months' training to pilot them.

Military analysts say unmanned fighting vehicles could have a far-reaching strategic impact on the sort of asymmetrical conflicts the U.S. is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel faces against enemies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

In such conflicts, robotic vehicles will allow modern conventional armies to minimize the advantages guerrilla opponents gain by their increased willingness to sacrifice their lives in order to inflict casualties on the enemy.

However, there are also fears that when countries no longer fear losing soldiers' lives in combat thanks to the ability to wage war with unmanned vehicles, they may prove more willing to initiate conflict.

In coming years, engineers say unmanned air, sea and ground vehicles will increasingly work together without any human involvement. Israel and the U.S. have already faced backlash over civilian deaths caused by drone-fired missiles in Gaza, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those ethical dilemmas could increase as robots become more independent of their human masters.

Write to Charles Levinson at charles.levinson@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. manufactures the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that General Dynamics Corp. manufactured the UAV.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A12
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1263251 ... TopStories

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