Killing Osama: Seeing Through Walls with VisiBuilding

onlineredaktion – The recent Osama bin Laden operation needed to model, and understand the internal structure of Osama’s compound before the kill operation began. The Whitehouse has already said that the seal team practiced on a mock up of the compound before the actual mission began.

Three Special Operations sites have training mock-ups with helicopter support for killing. One mock-up of the bin Laden compound was constructed for training at a US east coast facility. See US Training Bases for Special Operations Killing

How did they know the internal lay out of the compound to build the practice model before the team went in? It’s not likely that US operatives were invited in to take pre-mission planning photos.

This stray bit of information says that it is likely that the DARPA VisiBuilding program or some variant of it, is now both operational and field-tested. It is a high-resolution ultra wideband “radar” in the 1.85–6 GHz range and includes the necessary processing software application for thru the wall imaging and surveillance.

One such DARPA program is VisiBuilding – an urban sensing and planning tool capable to determe building layouts, find anomalous quantities of materials and locate people within the building. To achieve these goals, VisiBuilding could exploit phenomenology of signal penetration into buildings, measuring propagation and backscatter off urban structures. The system will utilize various means to position and monitor sensors in the vicinity of the objective, gaining an insight about the building, developing hypothesized ‚best guess‘ model of theinternal layout of rooms, walls and utility infrastructure that best fits the available sensor data.

Another program recently launched at DARPA is ‚Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance‘ (HIBR), a capability that translates VisiBuilding into practical terms: DARPA believes that ‚opportunistic sensing‘ could be a practical approach to ‚guess‘ such interior structure, using exterior observations. Information could be gathered from geometrical and stimulus response (for example, seismic or acoustic vibrations performing a sonar effect). Such stimulus could uncover minute details that, when processed, could provdie tactically useful information, for example, ad-hoc mapping of structural, electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems.

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