Gadhafi turns to floating bombs to disrupt NATO efforts

Attack shows need for weapons and sensors to counter seaborne IEDs

NATO forces enforcing the maritime embargo on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi May 16 blew apart with small arms a rigid-hull inflatable boat carrying about one ton of explosives and two rubber mannequins to deceive military forces of its intent as it headed toward the port of Misurata, NATO said.

It appears Gadhafi’s aim was to deploy two boats — one turned away when the pair was confronted — as seaborne improvised explosive devices to disrupt humanitarian shipping to Libyan rebels.

In addition to developing sensors to visually detect such threats and robots to sniff out IEDs attached to ship hulls, the U.S. Navy also is testing a laser weapon that can detonate inflatable crafts such as the one destroyed at Misurata using a 15-kilowatt blast of energy, reports Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room blog.

Defense Systems Update

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