- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 13, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Roadside bombs are taking a terrible toll among our soldiers (“Bombs kill four soldiers in Baghdad,” Associated Press, World, Wednesday). It may be possible to render many of the pressure-activated bombs relatively harmless by using remote-controlled heavy vehicles (RCHV) to detonate them far ahead of the manned vehicles. The RCHV would be a spare sedan or small truck filled with enough sandbags to make it heavy enough to detonate a roadside bomb; it would be operated remotely by a wire-operated remote-control system. The RCHV would be equipped with a camera with which the manned vehicle could view the road ahead, and it would be “driven” 20 to 100 yards or more ahead of the manned vehicles. The wire would be wound on a retractable dog-leash-type mechanism so the operator could vary the distance between the RCHV and the convoy. Any pressure-activated explosive device in the roadway would be detonated by the RCHV, which would spare the actual manned vehicles. In the event of a detonation, another RCHV could be brought up from the rear to take its place.

The wire-control feature of the RCHV would prevent any jamming of the signal of the remote-control mechanism, and it would connect to the camera. Because the RCHV would never be expected to be much more than 100 yards up the road, “driving” it would be simple. (It helps that the roads would bear very little traffic at the time.) Having the operators vary the length of the wire in a non-predictable pattern would prevent the enemy from defeating the strategy by delaying the fuse. For example, the operator could run the RCHV 40 yards ahead for the first half-hour, then 75 yards ahead for the second, etc. The fact that much of the RCHV’s weight would consist of sand means that there would be a minimum amount of shrapnel with which. The possibility of the rear axle of the RCHV flying straight back in the event of an explosion could be negated by securing one side of the axle to the chassis with a chain, which would cause the axle to pivot rather than fly straight back.

VICTOR CHOLEWICKI

Washington

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