American military forces and their Iraqi allies are employing more sophisticated technologies, including tiny unmanned aircraft constructed by Honeywell International Inc. to attempt to locate deadly explosive gadgets concealed on the battlefront.

Honeywell has implemented infrared cameras and additional sensors on small, remotely-operated helicopter-type devices, known as Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), that can sit right above suspect sites and transmit images back to soldiers employing a portable handheld terminal.

Thought to be the initial unmanned aerial vehicle of its kind specifically used in Iraq to uncover hidden explosives, the MAV weighs around 14 pounds, lifts off vertically, and can function at altitudes from just a fewer inches off the ground to over 10,000 feet.

Barely one foot in diameter, the MAVs can fly at over 50 miles an hour. They are part of the firm's effort to create new surveillance technologies to increase its military, space, and homeland security operations.

The introduction is part of a wider trend to create more innovative equipment to locate and take apart Improvised Explosive Devices, responsible for the bulk of American deaths in the combat in Iraq.

The action occurs as British forces are moving toward using high-tech radars created by a Raytheon division to look for these devices from much greater altitudes.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Wall Street Journal (06/17/07); Pasztor, Andy.