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News Article

Security, surveillance and 'Super Sangars'

An Equipment and Logistics news article

18 Sep 08

Hundreds of pieces of new equipment and over 500 people have been massing on Salisbury Plain for a powerful demonstration of the advanced and cutting-edge technology which is supporting troops on operations. Report by Leigh Morrison.

The Armoured Super Sanger

The Armoured Super Sanger with the Enforcer Remote Weapons System being displayed at the Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) demonstration day held at Salisbury Plain
[Picture: PO (Phot) Terry Seward]

From the heavily armoured Mastiff patrol vehicle - a hero of recent operations in Afghanistan - to sophisticated thermal imaging sights and the latest state-of-the-art cameras and Remote Weapons Systems (RWS) - all have been on site today, Thursday 18 September 2008, all demonstrating their effectiveness to those present. They are all key players in the Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) process, funded by extra Treasury money to provide the fast equipment solutions that ever-changing operations demand.

UORs deliver the speed and flexibility needed to adapt and respond to requirements specific to particular operational environments and emerging threats. Two examples of this newly unveiled equipment which really caught the eye during the Salisbury Plain demo are expected to really improve the safety of Service personnel on operations.

When it comes to the protection of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and Contingency Operating Bases (COBs), a robust approach to security has proved effective. By using soldiers to physically patrol bases and monitor activity around the perimeter using low range radar equipment, although very effective, this requires a lot of manpower which could be used elsewhere on the base.

Each base has a Sangar which is in effect a barricade and look-out station monitoring the overall security for military personnel on site as well as in the surrounding areas. Sangars are fortified positions and standby base entrances to improve the level of security. Those manning the Sangars have to physically raise their bodies into the direct line of fire to either survey the area or return fire, which causes significant safety risks.

The digital display and joystick

The digital display and joystick for the Enforcer Remote Weapons System
[Picture: PO (Phot) Terry Seward]


A new 'Super Sangar' was unveiled at the UOR Day which plans to eradicate many of the security risks that can leave a base open to attack, creating a multi-layered surveillance and integrated strike capability. The Contingency Operating Base in Basra is acting as the testing ground for some revolutionary new equipment, the same as the systems used in Warrior and Bulldog vehicles, which have day and night Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition & Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities combined with effective weapon systems.

Five Sangars around the perimeter of the COB have already been fitted with RWS's, which allow the operator to control not only return fire without physically putting themselves at risk, but also by being able to see a small screen inside the Sangar, the operator can monitor the area from a position of much greater safety.

Capability Integration Manager at the Equipment Directorate Land Forces, Major Donald Hodgson, explained:

"We have three ISO containers stacked on top of each other with the RWS fitted on top of that. In total, they come in at around 10 feet with a daylight camera and a thermal imagery camera to allow soldiers to sit inside the structure protected by bullet-proof windows. This gives us the method of providing enhanced optical capability as well as being able to fire weapons from inside a protected area.

"So far we have found that the 'Super Sangar' has been effective overcoming the challenges we needed it to and we've recorded less break-ins, as well as significantly less indirect fire attacks. There is a feeling that when people see the capability of the 'Super' Sangar that it may be rolled out in Afghanistan."

The 'Super Sangar' was trialled, tested and legally approved within four months and became operational at the COB Basra in July 2008.

The basic Sandbag Sanger

The basic Sandbag Sanger being displayed at the Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) demonstration day
[Picture: PO (Phot) Terry Seward]


To ensure full capability is achieved with the new equipment, troops already in theatre will undergo additional training, although Bulldog operators will only require refresher training as they have already used the equipment in the vehicles. A full programme will also be included in pre-deployment training.

Another addition to base protection in the form of camp surveillance is currently being developed at the Land Warfare Centre in Netheravon, and is planned to be rolled out to Afghanistan throughout 2009.

Cortez is a force protection asset which uses sensors to protect FOBs, large camps, Observation Posts and Patrol Bases, and includes cameras and balloons to execute this. The new breed of Cortez should be an improved version of the existing equipment by fusing together a variety of monitoring devices into a single source of display.

Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Falkner, from ISTAR Operations and Training, said:

"Bases spend a lot of time guarding themselves which is vital to the security of the base. The new system will allow soldiers to do what they do best.

"Manpower will be slashed and will allow troops to be released to do other things. Operators will be able to watch troops on the ground from further distances with the new and improved equipment which will significantly extend the range of visibility."

The new Cortez will be manned by Subject Matter Experts (SME's) from the Territorial Army (TA) who will provide specialist advice to operators from the regular Army.

It is expected that the latest generation of Cortez will be up and running by 2009 and will be syndicated across bases throughout the year.



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