January 15, 2011:
Yet another defensive sensor for combat vehicles has arrived; VOSS (Vehicle Optics Sensor System). This system enables troops to spot roadside bombs, mines, snipers and ambushes from several kilometers away. American MRAPs, usually those leading a column or clearing a route of roadside bombs and mines, use VOSS, and over 200 systems have been installed in the last two years. VOSS is easily identified because of its telescoping mast. At the top is a collection of day and night vidcams, as well as a thermal sight. These sensors are stabilized and have zoom capability. VOSS is operated from inside the vehicle, and it takes about six hours to train a user. Troops with a lot of video game experience take about half as long to learn how to make VOSS do its thing.
VOSS is particularly useful at night, when body heat reveals where people are, and what they are doing. Even in daytime, there are telltale signs that reveal roadside bombs and mines. Route clearing vehicles have small robots that can be sent to poke around anything suspicious. Despite the fact that VOSS just lets you look far down the road while moving up to 60 kilometers an hour, that ability has proved sufficient to see, and avoid, bombs and ambushes. Spotting snipers or enemy gunmen deployed for an ambush, often makes it possible to call in nearby attack helicopters, gunships or bombers to attack the enemy, ambushing the ambushers. Often, the sight of a VOSS equipped vehicle causes ambushers to flee.