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Oski
Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 06:03 AM
Nowhere To Hide: Killer drones that can see through walls

By William Saletan, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008


For the last couple of days, in the Human Nature blog, I've been looking into a breakthrough cryptically reported in Iraq and Afghanistan: the ability of U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles to identify and track human targets "even when they are inside buildings." Several recently reported technologies might account for it, but Slate reader fozzy suggests looking for the answer in a military research field called STTW, usually translated as "sense-through-the-wall." Has this ability been extended to a distance that allows it to be used by aerial drones?

Fozzy cites a March 2008 Army technical report on the latest progress in STTW radar methods. (Warning: Most of the documents I'm linking to here are PDFs, and some take a long time to open.) With a few more clicks, I pulled up an April 2008 report from the same research team. Both reports focus on "detecting and identifying humans enclosed in building structures." "Through-the-wall sensing is currently a topic of great interest to defense agencies both in the U.S. and abroad," says the April report. "The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has been active in all these fields of investigation, approaching these issues both through hardware design and radar measurements and through computer simulation of various STTW scenarios."

STTW has been around for a while. A 2006 report from the National Defense University mentions a DARPA system that can "detect the presence of personnel within rooms (stated to be successful through 12 inches of concrete)," as well as a commercially developed system with a "30-foot standoff capability." The next step, to protect U.S. personnel, is to put the technology on "unattended" mobile devices. Since the initial context is urban warfare, the pioneering client is the Army, and the introductory platform is unmanned ground vehicles. But the goal is to increase "standoff distance" and spread the technology to other platforms.

Meanwhile, up in the air, drone designers have been struggling with a similar problem: seeing through "darkness, bad weather, and tree canopies." The crucial contribution drones have made in Iraq—providing instant, on-demand customized video to ground forces—doesn't work where the drones' cameras can't see. So American engineers are developing radar that penetrates outdoor obstacles.

What seems to be happening is that these two projects—STTW and UAVs—are converging. In other words, unmanned vehicles that can see through walls. In some planning documents, the merger is explicit. A 2006 "Operational Needs Statement" from the military's Joint Urban Operations Office calls for a "STTW sensor mountable on both manned and unmanned vehicles," including "UAV platforms." A Navy bulletin calls for the same thing.

Conceptually, the merger serves every tactical objective. It increases standoff distance and mobility. It makes aerial drones useful in bad weather and urban settings. It also integrates them into a more ambitious plan: to see the enemy through every wall, not just one. A 2005 DARPA report, for example, proposes to "image through multiple walls and even penetrate whole buildings using distributed sensors on or around buildings," with UAVs assisting ground forces. A 2007 Army Research Lab study explores the ability of ground sensors, working with UAVs, to capture "images from different angles," thereby providing "intelligence on the configuration, content, and human presence inside enclosed areas (buildings)."

Three years ago, according to a defense contractor, the goal was to extend STTW capability to "distances in excess of 100 m," which would start to bring UAVs into the game. Boeing was in discussions to put STTW radar into a UAV. The Army was seeking "a suitable lightweight and compact imaging sensor to be hosted by the Camcopter-small UAV, capable of lifting 65 lbs of payload." The requirement for true aerial mobility was to make the system "lightweight (less than 30 lbs) and portable (less than 4 cubic feet)."

That sounds a lot like the mystery devices now being placed aboard drones in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the Los Angeles Times describes them, "The devices are roughly the size of an automobile battery, but are heavy enough that outfitted Predators in some cases carry only one Hellfire missile instead of two." The effect of these devices, according to a former U.S. military official interviewed by the Times, is that insurgents, even indoors, "are living with a red dot on their head."

Cool, huh? Except that if their walls are now transparent, so are yours. As fozzy astutely asks: "What happens when the government 'brings this technology home'?" And do you think our government is the only one merging STTW with UAVs? Heck, even the Canadians are well into it. "We will put the UWB radar on mobile platforms such as robots or unmanned airborne vehicle," says a 2002 report from Defence R&D Canada. "We are confident that a through-the-roof surveillance capability could be implemented using UWB radars installed on helicopters or small UAV."

Congratulations. The good news is, we might win in Iraq and Afghanistan after all. The bad news is, now we all have red dots on our heads.


Source: http://www.slate.com/id/2200292/?GT1=38001 (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.slat e.com%2Fid%2F2200292%2F%3FGT1%3D38001)

frippardthree
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009, 07:46 AM
Oski
How Do You Feel About This?
Nowhere To Hide

Killer drones that can see through walls.
By William Saletan
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at 11:49 AM ET

For the last couple of days, in the Human Nature blog, I've been looking into a breakthrough cryptically reported in Iraq and Afghanistan: the ability of U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles to identify and track human targets "even when they are inside buildings." Several recently reported technologies might account for it, but Slate reader fozzy suggests looking for the answer in a military research field called STTW, usually translated as "sense-through-the-wall." Has this ability been extended to a distance that allows it to be used by aerial drones?



Kind of scary, but at the same time kind of cool! Would be a very impressive piece of technology during any war. I would be afraid of accidental detonations, however.

This sounds kind of like "James Bond Technology"!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_James_Bond_gadgets

EQ Fighter
Thursday, October 15th, 2009, 06:30 AM
Unfortunately the US Military has out lived its usefulness and is developing into a tyrannical Police State operation, that needs to be permanently dismantled like the Soviet Union.

Actually it would probably be best if they are defeated in Afghanistan and the money to their operations permanently cut off and redirected to a civilian military with cheaper sustainable weapons systems that actually help the people defend themselves from exactly what they are trying to creat.

rainman
Friday, October 16th, 2009, 08:36 PM
The Arabs prove one thing: you don't need a national military to defend a nation. Militias will do fine. Militias made up of local people who control themselves ensure freedom. It was written in the constitution. Some time around the early 1900s they dismantled them. They then created the "national guard" which is the modern militia which is under the control of the government. The reason for doing so they claimed was that militia men were less effective fighters. True to a degree that 100 militia people will loose against 100 trained soldier but every man, woman and child in the nation can join a militia if we are under attack. It doesn't cost us any money, therefore is actually a more efficient use of the military. The only problem is you can't oppress others, siphon money into the pockets of a wealthy few, take away freedom etc. with a militia.

but yeah the U.S. could get rid of the military all together. If someone attacked us we could plant bombs in the road and shoot at them (if we are aloud the right to bear arms). Hijack a plane and fly it into the enemies building etc. If the most advanced, strongest military in the world has a hard time taking on one of the most backward areas of the world defended only by local militias- point made.

EQ Fighter
Sunday, October 18th, 2009, 11:16 PM
The reason for doing so they claimed was that militia men were less effective fighters. True to a degree that 100 militia people will loose against 100 trained soldier but every man, woman and child in the nation can join a militia if we are under attack.

Well I guess Vietnam, and Afghanistan on both the Soviets and now the Americans have proven them wrong there.

One good areal defensive action taken against the Multinational Forces, air bases and supply lines, or the use of biologicals against them and they would cave like a house of cards.

I think we all know that.

rainman
Monday, October 19th, 2009, 06:43 PM
The air force and possibly navy are the only advantages to a centralized national military. But even here what can a navy attack? Trade ships or other navy vessels. Maybe batter the coast or lauch others into the country. Airforce they can obliterate entire nations, but they aren't precise enough and never will be. All you can do is launch missles and drop bombs. I really think our enemies must not be that smart anyway. The could pretty easily defeat us simply by coming to America and blending in then sabotaging from the inside out. Why wouldn't they focus all their energies on asassinating our politicians for example? Even with all the protection in the world there's a way if you have millions of peoplle that want you dead and will do anything to accomplish it. What politician is going to sign a bill to invade a country if he knows him and his family is dead the moment he does? The weakness of these leaders it that none of the soldiers fighting these wars benefit from them. They are brainwashed to think they are 'defending freedom' or whatever or may just work for a paycheck but the interest is not there.
I'm sure they could find enough resources to come over here if their life depended on it. The weakness of the tyrant is to just by pass his cannon fodder and slaves and cut the head off the snake. I honestly believe that militias could over throw an advanced nation. Heck its already happened really.

Of course the snake that rules our waters is often invisible, pulling strings behind secret societies and such, but you could batter it wherever its visible and starve it out of its hole.

So even with the relative lack of intelligence/means of our enemies they still have put up a pretty good fight. I would say destiny is against them though simply because they are inferior.

Kurt Steiner
Sunday, February 7th, 2010, 09:02 PM
The boys at Texas Tech have come up with some ideas for stopping all aircraft or airborne vehicles, and causing it to crash.

They call it , "AntiMatter Research."

Like the Serbs, I am very interested in any methods for beating so-called High Tech.(Like the US military adores.)

If we ever fight a high tech co-dependent military, we must thwart their high tech machinery rapidly.