New Tech Gives Troops "X-ray Vision" to See Buried Bombs
A new sensor system detects buried bombs by “seeing” into the ground ahead of a vehicle, an innovation aimed at stopping the No. 1 threat to deployed troops.
The Soteria system, which was unveiled at a Raytheon forum in London last month, can determine the shape, size, orientation and exact location of mines and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
"Soteria is a world-leading technology,” said Raytheon UK Chief Executive Bob Delorge. “The system can be applied to a wide range of scenarios, including minefield clearance, which remains a significant menace in various world regions."
IEDs are the weapons of choice in attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces. In Afghanistan there were 16,000 “IED events” in 2011 alone, the Department of Defense says.
Detecting IEDs before they explode is a significant technical challenge – one that Raytheon faced head-on using groundbreaking optical technology. It developed the technology in partnership with Britain’s Laser Optical Engineering Ltd.
Developers named the system Soteria after a Greek goddess of safety.
"The brilliant success is a perfect example of how Raytheon has -- this time through its partnership and collaboration with Laser Optical Engineering -- harnessed combined skills that have led to development of a superb product designed to save lives of soldiers in-theater," said Howard Wheeldon, a defense and aerospace industry analyst who spoke at the July forum.
The system was just one of several technologies showcased at the event in London. Raytheon officials also briefed reporters and industry experts on CENTURION®, its multi-missile launcher for smaller ships.
CENTURION protects against attacks from small, fast-moving boats – a growing concern in strategic waterways. Raytheon is partnering with Chemring in Britain to develop the launcher, which will fire a variety of Raytheon missiles.
Officials also announced new capabilities that Raytheon is developing for the Paveway™ IV bomb. The improvements will include a highly accurate warhead that minimizes collateral damage – a 500-pound version capable of penetrating deep into the ground, a new digital laser seeker and enhanced protection against the jamming of satellite navigation signals.
“We envisage a multi-weapon solution,” said Terence (T.J.) Marsden, Raytheon UK’s chief engineer of weapons systems. “This will allow the ability to interchange a warhead depending on the requirements of the mission.”
Raytheon is already building and flight-testing the first prototypes, he said.
Last Updated: 01/15/2015