Feeds

Introducing the 'Matrix' laptop-triggered landmine

WLAN killing system bound for Iraq

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The US Army will by June deploy in Iraq its "Matrix" system of remotely-detonated landmines, despite widespread concerns about the technology. The Mosul-based Styker Brigade will, according to Yahoo! news, be able to control individual devices from a laptop via a WLAN set-up. The Army reckons Matrix will eliminate accidental deaths caused by dumb landmines. Critics say otherwise.

Following successful tests in September, the US will deploy 25 sets of mines in Iraq. These include both M18 Claymores, which deliver steel balls, and the "M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition" - a non-lethal rubber-ball-delivering alternative. The Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey said in a January statement that Matrix was intended for "firebase security, landing zone security, remote offensive attack and both infrastructure and check point protection".

Matrix project leader, Major Joe Hitt, declared: "The system is user friendly and a soldier will require a minimal amount of training in order to safely employ and use the system."

However, Human Rights Watch researcher, Mark Hiznay, countered: "We're concerned the United States is going to field something that has the capability of taking the man out of the loop when engaging the target. Or that we're putting a 19-year-old soldier in the position of pushing a button when a blip shows up on a computer screen."

Globalsecurity.org military analyst, John Pike, weighed in: "If you've got 500 of these mines out there, trying to figure out which one you want to detonate, when the clock's ticking, well that could be a brain teaser."

Several organisations, including Landmine Survivors Network and the Presbytarian Peacemaking Program are urging opponents of Matrix to lobby Donald Rumsfeld for the deployment to be scrapped. A Landmine Survivors Network statement asserts: "It seems obvious that these remote-control anti-personnel mines, however carefully monitored, will present new dangers to innocent Iraqi civilians for years to come."

The US military has made available few technical details about Matrix, or how it works in practice. We at El Reg hope that enterprising Iraqi insurgents do not make merry with the Army's Claymore-controlling WLAN. It would certainly give a new edge to the phrase "wardriving". ®

Related stories

Israelis strap on militant-busting wristwatches
Scientists slam US plasma weapon
Pentagon's $20bn war internet will 'cure world hunger'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.