The U.S. Army is sending 38 Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar (LCMR) systems to Iraq. The LCMR was developed for SOCOM (Special Operations Command) starting in 1999. The system weighs 120 pounds and is carried in two sixty pound packs. Costing about $650,000 each, it is meant to be set up on a roof top or other high ground. LCMR can detect the firing location of mortars up to seven kilometers away.
As those resistance fighters who are willing to directly attack US forces have been either killed or convinced to take up a different hobby, the biggest threats to our troops have become the improvised explosive device, usually along roads, and the shoot-and-scoot mortar attack.
I don’t know how quickly these units are able to respond and get the coordinates of an attacker to counter-battery fire, but they’ve got to be more effective than the 20 minutes it took to respond to a rocket and mortar attack against FOB Pacesetter (the Stryker Brigade’s old home) last month.
I also think it’s noteworthy that yet another Special Forces gadget is going mainstream. Smaller, more autonomous groups like the Special Forces (or, for that matter, the Marines) have a big edge in getting new equipment as they can often bypass the long meeting and testing phase that the regular Army is built around. Then, if they work for the Special Forces, you can just damn the meetings and testing and put the thing in the field.
The bulk of this war is going to be fought by warriors who resemble Special Forces troops or Marine Recon types more than the massed formations of “regular” soldiers.