Rooiwal military base using Odet fibre optic perimeter detection


The Rooiwal military base in Pretoria is using a fibre optic based perimeter intrusion detection system supplied by Odet, which has resulted in a reduction in fence breaches since installation more than two years ago.

Odet Systems manufactures laser/optical perimeter intrusion detection systems, mainly using fibre optic technology. The Odet range of intruder detection systems is manufactured in South Africa under license and distributed by Odet Systems Africa, which is based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) campus.

The company’s SmartSense range uses fibre optic technology to detect perimeter breaches and can be mounted on most fence types including walls, palisade, diamond mesh, and electrical fencing. The system works by exciting an optical fibre and measuring minute disturbances in the optical fibre, which are then filtered and analysed by software.

The system is scalable, so it can be used to monitor a small area such as a radio tower or pump station, or larger areas such as farms and borders – a single zone can be a kilometre long. The control room can be up to 40 km away.

Odet installed its security system at Rooiwal more than two years ago. Colonel B B Le Roux, Officer Commanding 1 Signal Regiment, last year stated that since the inception of the system, “we experienced a drastic decrease in the amount of penetrations or attempted penetrations through our perimeter fence.”
“The perimeter fence of Rooiwal Military Base spans a total of almost ten kilometres and thus requires an immense amount of personnel to safeguard. With the inception of the Odet system, acting now as an official early warning and force multiplier, we have been able to drastically reduce the amount of physical guards required to man the perimeter fence. We are now able to deploy our reaction forces more effectively and our guards at more sensitive and critical areas.”

Le Roux was happy with the system but suggested small adaptions and tuning of the current hardware and software could make it perform even better. This would involve tuning to negate wind, bird strikes and so forth.

Odet has also installed it system at other SANDF facilities. The company was also invited to submit its system to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project to test radio frequency (RF) radiation.
“We are confident that this will work in their environment (absolute radio silence). They intend to deploy Odet’s system on site as this project is considered a national key point,” according to Odet’s Matie Strydom.