The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will soon equip their vehicles with a new, Australian made counter-IED device dubbed ‘SilverShield’. According to a contract awarded by the Australian defense ministry to L-3 Micreo, the company will deliver 13,000 communications jammer units to the Afghan forces, bringing the total sales of Australian C-IED jammers to Afghanistan to A$85 million.
Installed on vehicles, SilverShield acts as a jammer disrupting specific cellular-phone signals known to have been used by insurgents to remotely activate improvised explosive devices (IED). The new system had undergone testing in both Australia and Afghanistan. SilverShield enhances the capabilities of the GreenGum system designed for light vehicles deployed in Afghanistan since 2015.
SilverShield is an evolution of Queensland based L3-Micreo’s Redwing program – a handheld IED jammer designed with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST). Redwing was developed as a low-cost, robust and lightweight force protection systems for use in austere operating environments by military and police units. The systems function with minimal operator training and limited logistical support. To date over 180,000 Redwing systems worth A$84 million were delivered to Afghanistan. Operational with Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, National Directorate of Security and Afghanistan Parliamentary Security Forces since 2015, Redwing devices have saved many Afghan lives.
Two variants were initially produced – the GreenGum personal unit and the GreyGum vehicle-mounted device. The success of this program has resulted in another 4-year program for the further development of Redwing. In this program Redwing products with additional capabilities are being developed for future sale to Afghanistan and other potential coalition partners.
“Redwing is a program of specialized force protection systems designed by the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) to counter specific radio-controlled IEDs in support of ANDSF,” Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payn said. “The program will continue to research and develop new product variants to meet this evolving threat.”