By YAAKOV LAPPIN
The Third Israel Defense security exhibition being held in Tel Aviv's Fairground this week had a number of nifty platforms put on display by international and Israeli companies, including a remote-controlled vehicle designed to deal with street riots.
The three-day exhibition, which kicked off on Monday, is aimed at offering the Israel Police, Prisons Service and the IDF new hi-tech solutions.
The turbo engine-powered riot control Bozena armored vehicle, created by the Slovakian War Industry company, is controlled by a radio transmitter and equipped with a massive shield that provides a moving shelter for riot police dealing with violent mass disturbances. With police safely behind the shield and out of the way of bottles, bricks, and Molotov cocktails, the vehicle is gradually pushed toward the rioters, dispersing them, its makers say.
Remarkably, the Bozena vehicle began life as an explosion-proof humanitarian demining mechanism.
Marian Zimmermann, sales manager for War Industry, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that after 14 years of land-mining operations, the Bozena's Slovakian designers made a leap of imagination and proposed converting their product into a policing anti-hooligan solution.
"This vehicle model was originally used in mine clearing operations by the UN in [the former republic of] Yugoslavia and in other peacekeeping missions," said Zimmerman.
A few booths away, the Israel-based Steadicopter company unveiled its Black Eagle helicopter, a rotary unmanned aerial vehicle (RUAV) which can help law enforcement monitor an area from up to 9,000 feet in the air through optical day and night cameras.
"The helicopter is operated by two people. One controls the vehicle's movement at a control panel, while the other is tasked with fueling the robot and preparing it for takeoff," explained Rami Adar of Steadicopter.
"It can fly for three hours, and provide assistance to police or military operations. Any map can be loaded on the control panel. Takeoff and flight are all automatic," Adar added.
Meanwhile, John Griffith, of the Canadian General Starlight Company, was showing curious visitors to his booth how to operate a thermal imaging camera attached to a machine gun. A clear black-and-white image of the room was apparent to those who peered through the scope, a picture that "remains the same whether light or dark," said Griffith.
"These new sensors are smaller. They are Israeli-built," Griffith added. The system costs $20,000.
Other gadgets on display included a British-made video surveillance system that peers under vehicles from the ground to look out for suspicious devices. The system, created by the Chemring defense company, stores the images and compares them with subsequent images taken from the same cars when they drive over the camera again, looking for discrepancies.
"It can tell if something has changed. It is in use by police in the City of London, and at the entrance to the Folkstone [Channel] tunnel," said Mike Knox, a former British Army explosives ordnance disposal officer and a sales representative for Chemring.
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