TEL AVIV ø Israel's largest non-government-owned defense firm has
been developing a system to detect concealed weapons and explosives as part
of a project to combat Palestinian suicide bombers.
Elbit Systems has been developing what has been described as a remote
detection system meant to expose suicide vests and firearms. The system,
developed by Elbit Systems's subsidiary El-Op Electro-Optics, would allow
the operator to detect concealed weapons and explosives under the clothes of
an operative from what executives termed a safe distance.
Executives said the development project has not been completed, Middle East Newsline reported. They did
not provide a date.
"There is a system that can see through clothes for firearms and
explosives," Gabriel Sarusi, El-Op's chief scientist, told the Miltech-2004
conference. "El-Op is developing this."
In a presentation at Miltech, Sarusi gave a presentation that showed an
electro-optic system scan a person outside a facility from an unspecified
distance. The system produced an x-ray type image that showed the scanned
individual without clothes but wearing a firearm and suicide belt.
Sarusi said the system was developed as part of the Israeli military's
effort against suicide bombers. The El-Op chief scientist envisioned a
heightened threat to Israel from insurgents in the short- and medium term.
On June 9, another Elbit System executive provided details of a project
to develop a sensor network meant to detect and locate a suicide bomber. The
effort was being carried out by a consortium led by Elbit Systems.
At a Tel Aviv University conference, Elbit Systems deputy
director-general for homeland security Uri Dobkin said Elbit Systems has
been developing sensors that could detect either concealed weapons or an
explosive belt. He did not cite the detection range of the proposed system.
"We are talking about a very difficult problem, technologically," Dobkin
said. "We are going to establish an integration of sensors. It's not enough
to have one or two sensors. The solution depends on a range of sensors."
Executives said the network of sensors would be able to obtain
data regarding any individual detected in an urban area. They said the
system could be installed in airports, border crossings or major bus and
train stations in an effort to reduce security manpower.
Elbit Systems has led a consortium of more than 10 companies that would
launch the project, under review by the Industry and Trade Ministry. Dobkin
said Elbit plans to conduct research and development of the explosives
detection system over the next three years. He said the company hopes to
market the sensor network in 2008.
A key technological challenge in the project, executives said, would
seek to ensure friend/foe identification. Executives said this would require
the training of operators to prevent false alarms over the presence of
Israeli soldiers or police officers, all of whom normally carry weapons.