Israel and U.S. Collaborate on Tunnel Detection

(Defense News) Seth J. Frantzman - The U.S. and Israel are continuing joint work to improve tunnel detection against Hamas and Islamic State. In 2016-2017 the U.S. contributed $80 million towards the program. The anti-tunnel efforts build on previous successful collaborative efforts to develop anti-missile defenses. The U.S. confronted extensive tunnel systems in Vietnam. Today, militant groups are increasingly resorting to tunnels as a way to avoid surveillance by drones. In Iraq, ISIS honeycombed cities with tunnels whose exits were inside civilian homes, hidden from aerial view. In April 2016, the U.S. uncovered a tunnel stretching half a mile from Mexico into San Diego, California, the largest of 13 uncovered since 2006. Research and development funding is being used to develop technology such as acoustic-detection systems. Israel has made major strides over the last decade in engineering, intelligence and use of technology to find and destroy tunnels. In March, as part of the Juniper Cobra 2018 exercise, U.S. Marines trained with Israeli paratroopers on combating the tunnel threat. In March, 56 members of Congress wrote in a joint letter to the Committee on Appropriations' Defense Subcommittee that "our own nation faces similar threats [to those in Israel]. In Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, ISIS has used subterranean passages to smuggle weapons, avoid detection, ambush troops and launch tunnel bomb attacks."

2018-06-28 00:00:00

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