Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Military Technology- Mobile Command/Observation Post

Last week we saw a formidable remote observation and weapons tower. Today we up the game with a mobile, armored, retractable observation and weapons tower.
This is the IDF's Akrab (or Scorpion)
Again a repurposed turretless tank hull (this time a US M60 Patton), they are used for guarding the border with Gaza and possibly the West Bank. Able to extend the armored cherry picker up to around 10 meters, it can easily see over the Israeli Border Wall to monitor Palestinian movements on the other side. Using nightvision and thermal cameras and scopes it has the ability to operate better at night than its adversaries. If its cameras and other sensors were linked to a central command, it would make an excellent intelligence and perimeter defence system able to remotely watch an entire area.

This is an interesting idea that in many ways is perfect for urban warfare. It allows soldiers to have a very safe, although not perfectly safe, observation post. It has a remote weapons station mounted on the top with a M2 .50 caliber Heavy Machinegun, and while it is not as hidden as a sniper would like to be, being able to ignore small arms fire and shell fragments has its benefits too. I doubt if this contraption would stand up to heavy weapons however and it also wouldn't likely have the ability to get out of the way. They have fitted the tower with slat armor to give it some protection from Rocket Propelled Grenade fire, but it looks like the armor is thinner on the sides. I sure would not want to be suspended 30 feet up, hanging over a wall, getting shot at with an RPG. Unlike the Sentry Tech Tower we saw earlier, this could always be redeployed to another location. It can sit behind the wall or buildings and pop up to fire whenever it wants. Also you have to give it some points for creativity, I would surprised as hell to come around a corner and find one of these ugly things staring at me.

All this neatness comes at a price however, and like most of the very well protected IDF armored vehicles, it likely either goes really slow, uses whole lot of fuel or both. Well you can't have everything.

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