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Standoff Detection of IEDs – with DARPA’s MEDS Program

Car_bomb_in_Iraq300iIn October 2012 The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) published a call for technology developers to come up with innovative ideas for explosive detection technologies capable of detecting and identifying explosives from standoff...

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U.S. Army Places Contracts for Defensive Radars

U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan primarily face a threat from indirect weapons. These include rockets and mortars used at their static facilities and the ever present mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to vehicle and foot movement. The U.S. Army placed yesterday two contracts for systems to help counter these threats.

First, Lockheed Martin (LMT) received an option on an existing contract to procure more TPQ-53 counterfire radars. These provide detection and warning of mortars and rockets and allow defensive and counter measures to take place. This contract has a value of almost $400 million and will procure 33 sets of equipment. Earlier the Army had issued a contract for 12. These radars have been in development since 2007 and use since last year.

The Army also placed an Indefinite Delivery/Indoctrinate Quantity (ID/IQ) contract with NIITEK, a subsidiary of Chemring Group PLC, for their Husky Ground Penetrating Radar. This contract has a total value of close to $600 million if all options are exercised. The initial contract is worth $161 million. With all ID/IQ contracts the government does not have to spend anything or just a part of the total value.

The NIITEK Husky is a radar mounted on a vehicle used to detect mines and other threats buried in the ground. It also includes a metal detector if desired. The system supports route clearing and checking as part of a convoy or on separate missions.

These two contracts demonstrate that the U.S. still meets significant threats in Afghanistan and that the U.S. is being innovative in meeting them. It also shows that the U.S. will invest in systems for these missions despite budget and deficit issues.

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U.S. Army Purchases Anti-mine Radars

The U.S. Army gave NIITEK a contract to build Ground Penetrating Radars (GPR) for mounting on vehicles to detect mines in Afghanistan. The contract is worth about $78 million. NITTEK is a subsidiary of Chemring Group PLC.

These systems will be integrated onto various Army vehicles for use to detect mines in roads and combat areas. The Husky Mounted Detection System is able to automatically map the mines as they are found. The data is stored on removable media that can be then taken out of the system for processing. It also has the ability to physically mark the ground where mines are found. More on the system may be found here including videos.

This contract is a follow on to an earlier one for thirty systems. Chemring Group PLC is an English company that manufactures explosives and countermeasures. It also provides Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) systems and services.

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