IED detection and persistent surveillance are some of last remaining defense opportunities

THE MIL & AERO VIDEO BLOG, 29 Oct. 2012. IED detection -- or the ability to locate and neutralize roadside bombs before they're detonated -- and persistent surveillance are about the only promising areas of a U.S. defense budget that's looking more desolate by the day, as John Keller reports this week in the Military & Aerospace Electronics video blog.

Well, most of us know how tough things are right now in the aerospace and defense electronics business ... that is, unless your company has a track record in detecting improvised explosive devices -- or IEDs -- or in surveillance and reconnaissance.

IED detection -- or the ability to locate and neutralize roadside bombs before they're detonated -- and persistent surveillance are about the only promising areas of a U.S. defense budget that's looking more desolate by the day.

Now it stands to reason that business opportunities and contract awards from the Pentagon might be slow about now. We've got a presidential election next week, and two candidates with vastly different philosophies of how to manage the Department of Defense.

You can almost feel the tension, but the results of the election are beside the point; what we're seeing is a defense business that's in virtual suspended animation until we get some indication of how U.S. defense policy will move forward. The election results will be step-one, but until then no one's doing anything, or spending any money of consequence.

We have a sense of where precious defense dollars are going, however, and I suspect these trends to continue after the election, no matter who prevails. If we can consider recent solicitations and contracts as any kinds of signposts, then IED detection, and persistent surveillance, and to a lesser degree, unmanned vehicles are where it's at.

I need to give a word of caution here. The IED detection and surveillance business the Pentagon is conducting lately does not represent big dollars. What's going on really represents maintenance and incremental improvements in capability that's already out there.

Here's an example. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization announced a market study last week to find companies able to build soldier-worn buried IED detectors that weigh less than 20 pounds. It's not that soldier-worn IED detectors don't already exist; they do. The Pentagon just wants this capability shrunk down so a foot soldier can wear it with all the other gear he needs to bring into the field.

Also this month the Naval Surface Warfare Center announced a program to develop a fast, mobile land mine detector for locating non-metallic buried explosives. That's a nice way of saying IEDs and other explosives that can hide from conventional metal detectors. What the Navy really wants is a hand-held device to help special operations forces detect and pinpoint unconventional explosive threats.

The common thread I'm seeing is small, lightweight technology that can detect IEDs quickly and accurately. No real surprise there. It's encouraging, however, that at least somebody in the Pentagon is spending some money.

DARPA is getting into the game, too, with a program called Methods for Explosive Detection at Standoff, or MEDS. This is an attempt to develop ways to detect bombs hidden in ... are you ready for this? ... "opaque media with high water content." That's government-speak for IEDs hidden in mud, meat, and -- believe it or not -- dead animals.

I guess we have an idea where the new IED threats are coming from.

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Featured Slideshow

Evolution of the American soldier

The American soldier has come a long way since the beginning of the Republic 237 years ago. While uniforms for early soldiers were based on cost and utility, soldiers' clothing eventually considered ballistic protection, increasing storage space, protection from poison gas and other contaminants.

Related Products

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

API DC Link Power Film Capacitors

High reliability DC link capacitors for power inverter applications which require superior life e...

XPort9200 Conduction- or Air-Cooled 12-Channel High-Speed CAN Bus XMC or PMC

The XPort9200 is a conduction- or air-cooled 12-channel CAN bus XMC or PMC module. Each high-spee...

Related Companies

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

API Technologies Corp

Who We Are API Technologies is a dominant technology provider of RF/microwave, microelectronics, and security technol...

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...
Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

On Demand Webcasts

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE