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Two Army vehicles equipped with highly classified technology used to jam deadly roadside bombs were stolen from under the noses of soldiers on a military base in Afghanistan.
The vehicles — both black up-armored Toyota Land Cruisers outfitted with life-saving CREW Duke electronic jamming systems — vanished in January from Camp Eggers in Kabul, according to a notice on Army Criminal Investigation Command's http://www.cid.army.mil/wanted_afghanistan.html">website.
The vehicles would be "priceless" to an enemy, who might attempt to reverse-engineer the jammer or use the vehicles to launch a Trojan horse-style attack, said Christopher O'Gara, a former official with the national security division of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and a retired Reserve colonel.
In August 2010, attackers wearing American uniforms and suicide vests conducted a pair of simultaneous assaults on NATO bases near the Pakistani border.
"I'm sure the enemy would love to use these against us, whether it's a Trojan horse or as a suicide bomber," O'Gara said of the stolen vehicles. "They can probably get close because … Toyota Land Cruisers are pretty common over there."
The Army is offering a $10,000 reward for tips leading to the recovery of the stolen items, which the Army valued at $344,000. (
An Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman declined to comment on the investigation, as did an ISAF spokesman.
Lt. Cmdr. James Williams, an ISAF spokesman, declined to say whether any security procedures were violated in the theft or on the possibility that the sensitive jamming systems could wind up in enemy hands.
"It would be inappropriate for me to comment until the investigation is complete," Williams said.
Two key fobs that belonged to the vehicles were stolen from the supply room of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Base Support Group, on Jan. 7, and sometime between Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, both vehicles were stolen.
The brigade was responsible for base operations for 11 bases and 3,000 troops in Kabul and had several missions. Among them, it provided quick reaction forces for the capitol, advised Afghan police and protected U.S. forces traveling between U.S. and NATO installations.
The brigade has since returned to the United States, according to the Army.
Performance specifications for the CREW systems are classified "secret" according to Army documents.
CREW Duke systems on the vehicles use "state-of-the art jamming technology," to block radio signals used to set off roadside bombs, according to the web site of manufacturer SRC, of Syracuse, N.Y. CREW is an acronym for Counter Radio-controlled Electronic Warfare.
"The CREW Duke system provides lifesaving protection against the full range of remote controlled improvised explosive device threats," SRC's website states. "Using state-of-the-art jamming technology, this vehicle mounted, lightweight system neutralizes RCIED threats."