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The Warsaw Voice » Other » June 17, 2009
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Staying secure
June 17, 2009   
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A new light armored vehicle for the military, upgraded armor plating for a wheeled personnel carrier, and a system of sensors for monitoring security in cities-these are some of the products that have been developed by companies and institutions affiliated in a research and development consortium called the Polish Technology Platform of Security Systems.

The consortium was established in February 2005 by a group of 33 institutions and companies led by the Warsaw-based Military University of Technology (WAT). They decided to work together in response to the needs of the Polish military and civilian services in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America and threats to global security.

The involvement of Polish troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of international stabilization missions has led to an increased danger of terrorist attacks against countries directly engaged in such operations.

Saving lives
When a Rosomak military vehicle carrying a group of Polish soldiers ran into a 6-kilogram mine near the locality of Sharana in Afghanistan Aug. 11, 2007, it was severely damaged by the powerful blast. The vehicle lost its mobility, but the crew suffered only minor bruises. No one was injured.

What's more, the vehicle, though damaged and unable to move, retained its firepower. A rapid reaction force patrol arrived on the scene and towed the damaged Rosomak back to base.

The Rosomak withstood the blast because it had been upgraded by companies working as part of the Polish Technology Platform of Security Systems.

Tur instead of Humvee
Several months earlier, at the end of 2006, the technical details of the first Polish-designed light armored vehicle were unveiled. The vehicle, called Tur, was developed at the AMZ Kutno plant in central Poland in response to complaints by troops about insufficient protection offered by the American High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee).

The Tur is an emergency/patrolling vehicle used during stabilization operations, peacekeeping missions and local conflicts. It can carry up to five soldiers with their outfit and equipment, in addition to two crew members.

Three prototype Tur vehicles fitted with a variety of engines and armament configurations have been tested on an exercise site operated by the Military Institute of Armor and Automotive Technology (WITPiS) in Sulejówek near Warsaw, beginning March 27, 2007.

The Tur is a front-running contender in a bidding process launched by the Polish defense ministry to replace the Humvee in operations involving Polish troops.

For security's sake
The Polish Technology Platform of Security Systems works as part of the European Commission's 2003 agenda for technology platforms defined in documents such as Investing in Research: An Action Plan for Europe and A European Initiative for Growth: Investing in Networks and Knowledge for Growth and Jobs.

The consortium aims to promote Polish achievements in the field of security. Member companies and institutions have set out to develop state-of-the-art equipment and technology for the state administration and uniformed services-to support security monitoring systems, information processing, rescue and crisis management operations, and enable an effective monitoring of rescue operations and facilitate crisis management procedures.

Experts caution that such equipment and know-how should not be bought abroad because it could make the country dependent on foreign suppliers in these sensitive areas. For the sake of national security, the largest possible portion of military equipment and technology should be designed and developed by domestic R&D centers and industry, experts say.

According to member companies, at least some of the equipment and applications developed by the Polish Technology Platform of Security Systems could cost less if they were produced in larger amounts and sold abroad.

Marek Mejssner

Five Priorities

The Polish Technology Platform of Security Systems says it focuses on technology and systems that stand a chance of becoming a Polish specialty in the European Union. In its strategy document, the consortium has defined five research and application priorities:

Early warning and threat detection and identification systems; data transmission and communication systems making it possible to monitor threats in real time and predict their development as well as simulate future event scenarios. These systems can be used in crisis management and to deal with detected threats and protect the population, environment and infrastructure, including public-utility facilities such as airports, national and local railroads, subways and train stations; the systems help monitor and assess the condition of buildings and power-supply, heating, chemical and petrochemical networks; they also make it possible to promptly deal with damage done by technical failures and terrorist attacks on infrastructure.

Materials, components and structures applied in security systems used by both civilian and uniformed services dealing with protection against impact, radiation, chemical/biological and thermal agents as well as facility imaging systems, including night vision and thermal cameras as well as radar technology. The research encompasses alloys, steel, mono-crystal, nano-crystal, amorphic, liquid crystal and intelligent materials, as well as new-generation explosives, missile fuel, caseless cartridge and warhead redeployment/guidance systems.

Design and application of sensors for security systems. These include VHF-mm (Very High Frequency) radar sensors (in both active and passive imaging systems), optoelectronic UV-IR sensors (active and passive), acoustic (active and passive) and magnetic sensors. The optoelectronic sensors will be used in fourth-generation surveillance and monitoring systems and multi-sensor detection and identification systems for identifying contamination, explosive charges, mines and hazardous substances. The sensors will also be used in unmanned aerial vehicles.

Development of security management systems, including work on a Polish Geographic Information System (GIS) to create automated rescue control systems and sea, air and land surveillance systems. Projects in this area also include work on developing crisis management systems and automated command and information/decision-making process support systems for use by uniformed services and in facilities including coal mines and oil drilling rigs.

Protection of IT systems, data communication networks and all kinds of electronic devices from sabotage, accidental damage and direct attack. This priority also covers the need to guarantee the interoperability of various applications provided by many producers, including work on developing a fully efficient and secure working environment for these systems.
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