"Our technology can solve tunnel problem"

Operation Protective Edge

Magna CEO: Surrounding Gaza with sensors can detect tunnels, but it will cost billions.

"I want to solve the problem of the tunnels in the Gaza Strip. There is a solution; it only has to be carried out," Magna BSP founder and CEO Haim Siboni said today. Magna, a small security company based in the Rotem industrial park in Dimona, deals with radar used to defend the border between Israel and Egypt and other secured sites, including infrastructure facilities, prisons, Ben Gurion Airport, and the Temple Mount.

The solution proposed by Siboni is based on precisely the same radar system that has already proved itself over several years, and which is well known to the defense establishment. According to Magna, what works well above ground can, with slight software and hardware adjustments, also work well tens of meters underground, and can provide a feasible solution to the growing threat of attack tunnels from Gaza aimed at Israel. "Our answer to the this threat is sensors - the same sensors we deploy on the borders and at secured facilities all over Israel and overseas will do the same job, even underground. The rate of detection, identification, and alerting will be 99.9%, and the system is advanced enough to prevent false alarms to the security forces. We'll demonstrate our solution to the defense establishment soon," Siboni stated.

Magna believes that just like an Iron Dome missile intercepts a rocket, a tunnel 30 meters deep loaded with sensors and radar on the border with the Gaza Strip can provide a decisive solution to attack tunnels designed to enable terrorist squads to penetrate into Israeli and commit massacres.

"We're proposing an operative engineering solution that consists of digging a 70-km tunnel along the border. When it's completed, our underground radar can be installed fairly easily. The estimated cost of the sensors is $150,000 per kilometer. Maintaining the system isn't complicated. According to our plan, convenient access can be provided to maintain the components installed in the tunnel. The investment is worthwhile; it will provide real-time alerts of any tunnel digging that crosses our tunnel, whether above or below it. The IDF will know exactly where the attack tunnel is and how many people are in it, and can monitor the progress of digging it in real time, and decide how to respond to the threat," Siboni says.

The defense system sold by Magna has been purchased by the authorities in Japan to protect its nuclear reactors. Three years ago, shortly before the tsunami disaster and earthquake that damaged the Japanese reactors in Fukushima, a Japanese delegation visited Magna's Dimona facilities to receive training. "In effect, it's the same system, which is adaptable with slight changes for various purposes: border defense, defense of guarded installations, etc. It warns against a person coming near the protected area, and provides a good high-quality alert with a good response time in all weather conditions… I believe that if the question is seriously addressed, and our solution is adopted, it can be deployed within a year, and can save a lot of lives and enormous costs for the army in the defense of people living near Gaza, who are exposed to this danger. In this case, we have unquestionably proved our capabilities," Siboni said.

"No magic solution"

Magna has 15 employees. Siboni says that the company will soon hold an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

When the threat from the tunnels grew, long before the matter came to the attention of the Israeli public, official research parties on behalf of the defense establishment contacted other countries around the world who are also faced with an underground threat. Among other things, queries were sent to official researchers in Mexico, which is dealing with tunnels used for drug smuggling, and South Korea, which among other things is threatened by many attack tunnels from its hostile neighbor, North Korea. "There is no magic solution," a security source told "Globes." "We haven't found any country so far that has solved this problem."

The source did, however, provide a ray of light at the end of the Gazan terrorist tunnels. He recalled how Israel had created a good, reliable rocket interception system from scratch of a quality unmatched anywhere in the world, and said that he believed that a good solution would also be found for the tunnels threat: "We think we're going to solve this. We're in the race. It's taking time. We're defining the threat and what we regard as a solution. The outlook isn't rosy or simple, but we're making progress."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 21, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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