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Thursday, April 3, 2008       Free Headline Alerts

Israel activates unmanned video-directed machine gun stations on Gaza border

TEL AVIV — The Israel Army has deployed its first unmanned posts along the border of the Gaza Strip.

Officials said the army has installed machine guns in unmanned posts along the security fence that surrounds the Gaza Strip. They said the post also included a day and night camera to detect infiltrators and insurgents.

"The unmanned posts would give us flexibility to stop terrorists while preventing our soldiers from being stationary targets," an official said.

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The outpost, developed by the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, was designed to contain a video camera that could see up to one kilometer within the Gaza Strip. The camera has been linked to a command and control system that alerts human operators to an approaching infiltrator, Middle East Newsline reported.

The alert enables the operator in a rear command facility to track the infiltrator and decide whether to fire. The camera would point the machine gun in the direction of the infiltrator and fire on the push of a button by the operator.

The army has also launched initial deployment of an unmanned ground vehicle that would patrol the Gaza border. The UGV, termed Guardium, could also be equipped with a machine gun fired by a human operator in a rear C2 center.

Officials said the new unmanned post would be operated by the military's Southern Command. In the first stage, intelligence officers have been trained to use the C2 network to detect and track infiltrators. In the second, stage, the operators would be taught to fire the machine guns by remote control.

The first unmanned outpost has been erected along the border of the northern Gaza Strip. Officials said several more facilities would be established in 2008 as part of a pilot project.

"The system is not supposed to replace soldiers on the ground, and it won't replace the need to attack terrorists when necessary," an officer said.

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