Electronic Weapons: September 18, 2003


Iraq is providing an ideal testing ground for all manner of new electronic warfare devices. The more obvious ones are the battlefield Internet systems, some of which were already used during the war (like Blue Force Tracker). The Department of Defense is sending new networking and communications equipment to be used, and tested, in Iraq. There, the equipment will get exposed to harsh environmental conditions, and use by troops who are under the kind of stress encountered in full scale combat. It's safer to test the new equipment in this kind of situation than in a more intense kind of war. Another type of electronic gear being tested is that used for security purposes. This appeals to the Department of Homeland Security back in the United States. In Iraq, electronic monitoring systems and new UAV sensors are being used to protect pipelines, electrical transmission towers and routes traveled by troops. All of these are subject to bombs set off by terrorists. Moreover, American troops are "gadget friendly" and generally eager to try out new items under harsh conditions. 


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