Feeds

US warboffins update Where Eagles Dare gizmo-bombs

Multifunction plug-in detonator gadgets sought

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Who here remembers the nifty little gizmo-bombs used so inventively by Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton in WWII flick Where Eagles Dare? If you liked them, it seems you're not alone, as US special ops Q-Branch boffins are now looking to buy a detonator unit with even more functions.

The boffins in question are those of the Naval Surface Warfare Centre (Crane Division), long renowned as gadget builders and gunsmiths to the top-secret yet famous Navy SEAL frogman-commandos and their various Special Operations Command (SOCOM) colleagues.

It seems that elements in SOCOM are getting a bit tired of all the various different kinds of specialist, fiddly demolitions bits and pieces. At present, Western military types wishing to blow something up usually have to assemble firing circuits, electronics, detonators, and main charges in the field - or at any rate lash them together with gaffer tape and so forth prior to parachuting, submarining, or helicoptering into action.

No more, say NSW-Crane. Instead, there should be a single main module about the size of a deck of cards, which has built into it a detonator able to set off a charge of plastic explosive, a length of detcord, or a pyrotechnic fuse. This base module should have a timer, able to go off at a set time or after counting down a set period.

The primary unit needs to be safe from triggering by electromagnetic emissions and safe to carry even when attached to the main charge in true movie style (Clint and Richard's cheery practice of carrying fitted charges about loose in a bag for days would turn even the most swashbuckling real-world demolitions type a bit thoughtful). It has to be waterproof to 66-foot depths and work in extreme cold or brutal heat, and its software/firmware must comply with US military regs.

The clever bit, however, comes in the fact that the base timer detonator is to have "a standard connection/interface to be used with all attachable accessories...ie any source input signal can be recognized and used to initiate the base unit".

The attachable accessories are to include a sympathetic detonator triggered by the blast of another nearby explosion - so letting American supertroopers rig up fearful daisy-chains of destruction amid enemy camps or whatever. (In real life, unassisted explosives often stubbornly refuse to go off even when quite close to adjacent bangs).

NSW-Crane also require a breaching initiator for blowing in doors (or simply creating doors where there were none before), offering reliable 50m range even indoors and round corners. There should also be a more conventional radio job with 18km range in line of sight.

Then it gets a bit cheeky: There should also be a motion-detector attachment, allowing very tricky booby traps to be set up. (Sensibly there has to be a self-destruct timer on this one - otherwise it could be an international-convention-busting landmine hazard). There's also to be a magnetic metal-detector job, with similar compliance features.

And finally, of course, a "trip wire initiator" in old-school style. All in all, fit to do Loo-tenant Schaffer's heart good: With a box of tricks like this and a few sticks of C4/PE4, no alpine castle full of Nazis would last a day.

Prices on the plugin trigger gizmos aren't set, but the base unit - which would be the most expensive component - is to cost "approximately $300 or less" in batches of 10,000. Full details for any budding Q-Branch types interested in bidding can be downloaded here (Word doc). ®

Lewis Page used to blow stuff up all the time for the British government. Nobody ever gave him anything as nifty as this. That said, supplies of black masking tape were generous.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.