IDEX: Chinese Company Offers Familiar Counterterrorism Tools

By Stew Magnuson
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The recent unveiling in China of a stealth jet fighter made international headlines. Not as well known are the dozens of smaller counterterrorism weapons being offered for sale here that will seem familiar to anyone who has followed U.S. technological innovations that came as a result of the Iraqi insurgency.
CETC International Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based electronics company, at the IDEX show two years ago released a catalog full of items Big Brother would love, including mobile surveillance vans, Internet and wireless eavesdropping technology and other means to spy on civilians. Those seem to have been left out of the 2010 edition, but perhaps that's just as well with so many Middle East despots losing their jobs of late.
That market may be drying up, but an unstable world creates other opportunities. As the introduction to the Public Security catalog put it: "With economy globalization, society complication and environment deterioration, our security is becoming more fragile than before. CETC is devoted into security technology, integration and engineering research and development to contribute to the security circumstance of our friendly countries." Chinese-to-English translation software is apparently not among its products.
Counter-improvised explosive device tools are among the 92 items in the catalog.
Among the first to be fielded in Iraq in 2003 were radio frequency jammers to stop signals traveling over the airwaves that could detonate bombs. CETC has several versions of those, including one specifically designed to jam wireless broadband.
The portable ground penetrating radar can look for buried bombs, and a trace explosives detector can pick up chemical markers associated with bomb-making activities.
BBN Technologies, now part of Raytheon, had success on the battlefield with its Boomerang sniper detection system. CETC now has one of those, too, the anti-sniper acoustic detector, which has a remarkably similar antenna.
An American company, LRAD Corp., had some success with its Long Range Acoustic Device, a nonlethal weapon that uses directed energy sound blasts to keep small boats away from Navy ships, or for crowd control. CETC is offering the "directed high-intensity acoustic low-lethal weapons for police," which can "weaken or destroy the mobs hearing effectiveness so as to control the sitnation (sic)."
Unmanned aerial vehicles and ground robots for explosive ordnance disposal are important tools used by U.S. forces to counter the insurgency. CETC, and other Chinese vendors on hand, have those for sale as well, along with dozens of other companies from several nations.
CETC hasn't completely abandoned the police state market. The vehicular radio monitoring system is a saucer shaped object that can be attached to a minivan. It can ferret out those who are broadcasting illegally, the description says.
The very back of the catalog curiously has some non-electronic items, including bullet proof jackets, armor plates, and an anti-riot vehicle that has a full complement of gear including tear gas dispersers, search lights, and a "geometric appearance (that) improves defending ability and looks more aggressive."  
Keep watching National Defense Magazine’s blog for daily reports from the 2011 IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 21-24.
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Topics: Bomb and Warhead, Improvised Explosive Devices, C4ISR, International

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