June 30, 2012:
Italy is buying American Gyrocam 15 TS sensors for its MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected), to make the vehicles more effective at clearing routes in Afghanistan of roadside bombs. The Gyrocam is a small turret with a sensor ball (that can also rotate upwards 90 degrees). The sensors include day/night vision color vidcams with 20:1 zoom. Incorporated is a laser rangefinder and laser illuminator (to mark a target for a laser guided missile or bomb). The Gyrocam includes GPS, so it, and its operator, always know exactly where it is.
The Gyrocam TS units cost over $400,000 each. These units use a gimbaled enclosure that allows the operator to quickly move the field-of-view around. The Gyrocam TS can be mounted in trucks, boats, or aircraft (typically helicopters). The Italians will mount the Gyrocam TS units on their MaxxPro MRAPs used by their EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams. The Gyrocam TS enables the EOD guys inside the MRAP to get a good look at potential roadside bombs or any other suspicious activity out there. The 35 kg (77 pound) Gyrocam TS has a five kg (eleven pound) electronic interface unit and a 3.5 kg laptop control console, which can be mounted in the vehicle or just perched on the knees of the operator. The Gyrocam turrets have been used for this kind of work for over six years.
The MaxxPro Dash MRAP was designed for use in Afghanistan, thus they are lighter (14 tons), shorter, and have the engine and drive train tweaked to provide more power. Thousands of MaxxPro Dash models are headed for Afghanistan. Like most MRAPs, MaxxPro Dash cost about a million dollars each, fully equipped and delivered to Afghanistan.