Electronic Weapons: Wi-Fied Airport Metal Detectors On The Battlefield


June 18, 2007: A clever new tool for finding poachers in an African nature reserve, has resulted in one of the more effective battlefield sensors in a long time. This improvised systems employs the hand held metal detector wands used by airport security personnel to find metal objects on people. These are hidden in the underbrush, and send a signal if a large metal object passes nearby. The transmitter can communicate with a wi-fi antennae that is up to a thousand meters away. There, the signal is passed, via satellite comm, to park security headquarters, where the progress of the armed men can be tracked, and armed park rangers sent out to intercept the poachers. The system, called TrailGuard, was developed by an American firm, Wildland Security, that specializes in anti-poaching technology.

TrailGuard is vulnerable to detection, and destruction, so setting it up in secret (at least from the poachers) is important. The system is also very portable, and can be moved around as needed. The system was first used in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo, where poachers were usually not detected until the leftovers, from their hunting of rare species, was discovered by park rangers. Now, the poachers are getting caught, the word is getting around, and poaching activity is way down.

Such a system could also be used on the battlefield, adding magnetic sensors to the host of other sensors (visual, heat, acoustic and seismic) already out there. The more sensors you have deployed, the less likely anyone will get through. The magnetic sensors of TrailGuard are unique in that they detect the one thing you have a lot of difficulty hiding, the metal in weapons.


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