Feeds

Introducing the 'Matrix' laptop-triggered landmine

WLAN killing system bound for Iraq

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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'

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
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
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
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.