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MORTAR-FINDER BACKFIRES

blockiia.gifAn Army radar designed to spot enemy mortar attacks isn't working as advertised in Iraq."For members of the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 20-year-old AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder Weapon Locating System was more of a problem than an asset, Defense News reports. "The unit came under mortar fire 40 times in Iraq, but the system only detected rounds three times. The squadron suffered between 10 and 15 injuries from mortars."

We stopped, we moved the radar around, the technical guys around worked the [software] programming, said Lt. Col. Gregory Reilly, squadron leader. We tried everything humanly possible.The unit even fired its own mortars at the system in an attempt to work out the bugs. Even under the best circumstances, the radar detected only one out of five rounds.I just dont think there was fidelity in the system, Reilly said. I dont think that it worked.Thales Raytheon Systems Q-37 Firefinder radar, which can be transported on a 2.5-ton truck, was first fielded in the 1980s to detect rounds from long-range Soviet artillery up to 50 kilometers away...Army program officials, who say they track the performance of the upgraded Q-37 daily, rate its effectiveness at roughly 90 percent when it is used correctly by troops who have been trained extensively.The radars are performing exceptionally well for a system originally designed and developed 20 years ago for a different type of warfare, Lt. Col. Al Visconti, Firefinder product manager, wrote in a response to questions.
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