If we want to spend a lot, and after all, defence is expensive, there are suppliers that can deliver exactly what is needed. Creating a wireless and covert CCTV network across the strategic locations in a city like Basra is perfectly feasible with off the shelf technology.
It is expensive.
So, the point of this article is to ask if by a combination of accepting compromises and utilising off the civilian shelf components we can lower the price of deployment to such a point that makes such a network of sensors feasible and useful.
Stabilisation, security operations, or even some parts of conventional conflicts could be enhanced by pervasive and persistent surveillance using both optical and signals sensors. Throw in cross cuing and intelligent deployment and usage and the case becomes compelling, I think.
It would also be interesting to throw the challenge of creating the building blocks open to those outside of the defence industry. Instead of going to market with a set of performance thresholds first, set the price point and a few vague objectives and then see what the academic and hobbyist community comes up with.
For £100k we could provide a kit of parts to one hundred participants. For those participants, offer another £50k in prize money and some bragging rights.
Am a big fan of competition and experimentation, let’s see what we can get without the traditional defence primes coming anywhere near it!