Terrorists attack substation in April 2013—see how it could have been prevented

Substation-attack-WSJOn April 16, 2013, terrorists attacked a substation near San Jose, California from outside the fence line with AK-47s (see Wall Street Journal) and within minutes took out 17 large transformers.

Because substations do not typically have a perimeter security system that looks outside the perimeter, this attack went undetected until a plant operator heard the gun shots.

Now, with the new CIP-014-1 — Physical Security Requirements, utilities are needing to upgrade their perimeter security to prevent similar attacks.

Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) is a revolutionary advancement in surveillance radar for industrial security. CSR is radar small enough to hold in your hand that was designed for elite forces and is now available to electrical utility security professionals.  With CSR you are able to cover 20 times the area at the same cost as thermal cameras running video analytics with a fraction of the false alarms.  The layout below contrast the difference between the two technologies.Camera coverage versus Spotter Radar

Now with the SS-MOBILE-REMOTE kit you can secure a medium sized substation in a day.  See a short introduction of what CSR is and its ability to detect and track targets inside and outside the fence line.

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Installation examples

Utilities in the US and across the world are using CSR from SpotterRF. Here are a few pictures of installations:

Mobile Tower System with SS-MOBILE-REMOTE
Mobile Tower System with SS-MOBILE-REMOTE

But don’t just take our word for it: see what others have to say about SpotterRF. Here are some searches you can do to see what other people have done and said about the CSR from SpotterRF.

Click on the links below to search on Google:

We also have information on deployments and test reports that we can not share publicly. If you are ready to see more, arrange an appointment with one of our Field Application Engineers.


  • The great outdoors can provide a relaxing reprieve from city life, but not if you spend all your time worrying about bears invading your camp. So even though it's designed for military use, this radar-in-a-backpack kit should provide ample peace of mind when roughing it.

    Andrew Liszewski
    Andrew LiszewskiGizmodo
  • Multiple radars that could be strategically placed around the critical infrastructure was the best application of the radar technology, [rather than] having one maritime radar to sweep the entire area; then there would be lots of blind spots because of the bridge structure and the bridge piers.

    Neil Chung
    Neil ChungLeidos
  • The radar-based system is surprisingly easy to oversee and execute. . . Through a web portal, I easily created trigger areas (see shaded areas in circle below) and received alerts as people walked into the zone.

    Tom LeBlanc
    Tom LeBlancCommercial Integrator
  • "Although we have a full-time night watchman on our payroll, we still needed more security since we are patrolling such a large area. We were extremely impressed with the radar technology that was shown to us and the ability to detect, record, and report movement within a set boundary. While staging our assets directly adjacent to a highly traveled roadway, their system allowed us to detect someone crossing a set boundary, recorded the activity in high definition, and immediately sent emails and/or text messages to our contact list. We were successful in apprehending the criminals each and every time (day or night) the system alerted us simply because we were notified in real-time. The bottom line, there have been numerous arrests made and thousands of dollars saved in theft/vandalism as a result of this high-tech monitoring system. In our experience there is no better option than this reliable radar tracking system along with the expert, knowledgeable staff that installs and maintains the system."

    David A. CummingsSr. VP, Broken Arrow Inc.
  • The results are very encouraging. The cameras and compact radar extends our view to 1000 meters and effectively covers a wide area of precision object tracking with minimal security personnel and thus, a remarkably low cost per acre. This gives us peace of mind that we are doing everything possible to protect not only our critical facilities, but the citizens of San Diego.

    Tony Ruiz
    Tony RuizSecurity Administrator, City of San Diego
  • In effect, this system improves situational awareness and force protection for small-unit operations without adding significant training or weight to the dismounted soldier. . . Giving elite forces working in the most remote locations perimeter security and the ability to detect and follow hostile movements with a miniaturized radar small enough and lightweight enough to be thrown in a backpack can only be a good thing.

    Allison Barrie
    Allison BarrieFoxNews.com
  • Nimble small group forces securing a position must first eliminate threats, then, set up a defensible perimeter. Troop position may change overnight or in an hour. Since we can make SpotterRF radar operational from pack to track in just a few minutes, we minimize the time our troops are at greatest risk. This ultimately saves lives.

    Paul Diamond, Instructor
    Paul Diamond, InstructorCamp Williams
  • This system costs less than building one mile of freeway or one overpass on a freeway and provides advanced security to Arizona citizens we are responsible to protect. Each registered citizen will have Internet cloud access to the output from this system for the highest level of transparency possible.

    Bob Worsley
    Bob WorsleyArizona State Senator
  • Systems available under the Shield Initiative are pre-integrated, pre-assembled, pre-tested and ready to ship within a few weeks . . . Making these systems accessible to a wide range of users enables sensor station installation to be done in hours instead of days required by other alternatives.

  • SpotterRF provides a unique radar motion detection ability in a small, cost effective package that will be of great benefit to the government, military, and industrial security markets. IQT’s strategic investment in SpotterRF reflects the opportunities we see for this ready-soon innovation to make a difference in both the government and commercial sectors. We were particularly impressed to see the company integrate its product with Google Earth (formerly IQT portfolio company Keyhole) for real-time display of radar targets.

    William Strecker
    William StreckerIn-Q-Tel (IQT)

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