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SMART BOMB DEFENSES ON THE WAY?

You don't have to be one of the retired generals on cable TV to see how important precision-guided, "smart" bombs have been to the U.S. military's recent successes. Laser- and satellite-directed munitions have allowed U.S. forces to target individual buildings in Baghdad or Kabul, without harming the surrounding neighborhood.But a German firm says it has developed effective countermeasures to at least some smart bombs. And it's about to sell these defenses on the open market, reports Jane's International Defence Review (article available only to subscribers).The system, developed by Buck Neue Technologien, uses a series of 32 decoy rounds, all fired within seconds, to distract laser-guided munitions from their intended target. (Bombs directed by satellite, like the Joint Direct Attack Munition, wouldn't be affected.) The 81 mm decoys are filled with chaff, to stop radar-seekers, and red phosphor, to create a cloud that blocks infrared light.40% of the nearly 20,000 smart bombs dropped in Gulf War II were laser-guided. Such weapons have always been susceptible to distraction. Rain, dust, and smoke all can keep the bombs from reaching their destinations.Buck Neue Technologien has already built a version of their bomb defenses for navies. It's called Multi-Ammunition Softkill System, or MASS."We call (what MASS does) the Pamela Anderson effect," explains company CEO Armin Papperger, "which simply means that we lure the hostile missile system away from the actual naval target... Just like Pamela Anderson turns a mans head, our decoys will lure the approaching missile away from the actual target."Papperger tells Jane's that his company has been "approached by 'certain very wealthy people in Asia' who would have an interest in the capability offered by MASS to protect their homes against missile attack."

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