One of the toughest challenges facing coalition forces operating in Iraq and Afghanistan is the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). In the U.S., a joint task force was assigned with evaluating, developing and rapidly fielding suitable measures to protect from and defeat IEDs. Capabilities shown at AUSA 06 included IED detection concepts, convoy command and control systems, and various countermeasures ranging from vehicular to man-portable and individual RF jammers, protection systems, and specialized vehicles such as the JERRV and various robotic systems, designed to combat IEDs.
One of the companies tasked with counter-IED research is SRI, which introduced the Mobile Obliteration Platform, (MOP) to combat IEDs. The system uses a low cost wireless controlled platform mounting SRI’s Engineered Neutralization and Dispersion Source (ENDS), combining a fragmentation panel placed on an explosive sheet made of low-pressure explosive, backed by a tampering plate. Other counter IED concepts demonstrated by the company included aerial sweeps, using laser-induced fluorescence, detecting IED vapor traces, and the use of airborne ground penetrating radar, to spot suspected locations of buried IED.
Two types of the Broadshield counter-IED jammers were displayed by the UK based TRL company, a member of the L3 Communications group. Future models of the system, currently under development will extend frequency coverage of the BroadShield, integrated with a signal generator and power amplification components. Other jammers, designed for dismounted operations include the Thor, from ACM Systems, a 15 lbs (6.8 kg) system, transmitting 16 watts.
The company also provides the ShadowBolt IV vehicle borne RCIED jammer, which not only disrupts RC communications but also provides warning on suspected threats. The system also logs the geo-location of the points where signals are located, for further analysis and post-mission intelligence processing.
Thales launched its latest,Storm H man-portable individual Radio-Controlled IED (RCIED) counter-measure jammer at AUSA, designed to protect dismounted troops on foot patrols. The device is sized similar to a hand-held radio, and can be worn in a pouch or pocket, or clipped to webbing. These new devices enable dismounted troops to move safely away from the restricted field of operation immediately surrounding an ECM vehicle or the ECM member of a foot patrol, enabling each individual soldier to move freely, taking their IED protection with them.