Feeds

Introducing the 'Matrix' laptop-triggered landmine

WLAN killing system bound for Iraq

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.