Weapons Inspectors in Iraq have New Technology?

Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2002 10:30 am
I have heard this reported in various places. Is this media hype? Do they just mean 'new' since the last time they were in Iraq? Do they mean a 'new' application to weapons detection of essentially old technology? What do they mean? I have heard reference to radar that can detect below ground, and hand-held detectors of the presence of pathogens/chemicals in the air?

Does anyone know anything more specific?
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Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2002 10:35 am
I will venture to say, an' may get slapped down for it, that this is technology which is new to the inspection teams. Air samplers, capable of detecting small traces of specified chemicals have been around for 20 or more years, and getting smaller and more sophisticated all the time. Radar, of course, has been around for almost 70 years, and "new" types of radar are just refinements in the generators and detectors of specified or general wavelengths in that part of the spectrum.

Without claiming any authority, i would say it is likely that the inspectors, now the center of a very bright and hot spotlight, are getting material support they've never had before. When the U.S. took no interest in U.N. inspection teams, they were "poor stepchildren," and that in an organization which is always strapped for cash.
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Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2002 10:43 am
Satellite imagery is a great deal more effective -- you can read about it in most of the media but it is also in scientific magazines and journals. It's ain't hype but I suppose it could be construed as being more important that it is.
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Reply Tue 19 Nov, 2002 02:11 pm
Updated myself on this topic yesterday. The 'new' technology is mostly new to the inspectors, since they were last there, but some of it is relatively "new new" technology.

Aerial imagery and satellite imagery is much more sophisticated and they arrived in Iraq with skads of those in their suitcases. Also with the equipment to download new images, and the agreements with various companies around the world to make additional images as directed.

There is also a relatively new gizmo from the geology field, a radar device for below-ground sleuthing, using bounced back electro-magnetic waves. In relatively sandy soil it can 'see' up to 100 feet below the surface. They showed on TV a 'wave picture' indicating three buried storage tanks underneath a foot of concrete. Very nice.

The hand-held pathogen/chemical detector is the reapplication and miniaturization for field work of technology already existing, but a real help to the inspectors in this particular situation.

I also learned that, if the US military is agreeable, and you know that it will be, the unmanned drone aircraft with excellent imaging capabilities can be made available to the team.

One also has to assume, although I haven't read or heard anything about this, that they are better prepared this time with pretested computer programs and personnel at the ready around the world for what ever technical or analytical assistance might be required.
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