Counter-IED equipment

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Remote-control "Panama" Land Rover with ground-penetrating radar to detect IEDs followed by Mastiff with Choker mine rollers
Dragon Runner robot on exercise with the British Army in 2012
Wheelbarrow robot on the streets of Northern Ireland in 1978

Counter-IED equipment are created primarily for military and law enforcement. They are used for standoff detection of explosives and explosive precursor components and defeating the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) devices themselves as part of a broader counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, or law enforcement effort.


Detection techniques and specific systems with assessed Technological Readiness Levels (TRLs) are described by both capabilities and characteristics.

A list of detection techniques and systems' capabilities include:

  • detection rate of explosives and/or explosive precursor components
  • the false positive rate
  • the effective range
  • the detection depths in various soils
  • foliage penetration capability
  • type of explosive and/or explosive precursor component that the system is capable of detecting (metal, non-metal, radio controlled, etc.)
  • impacts of different types of weather
  • processing time
  • day/night capability

A description of the characteristics includes:

  • size
  • weight
  • power
  • directionality
  • approximate cost
  • reliability
  • mean time to repair (MTTR)
  • availability of components
  • intellectual property issues

Also of concern are any hazard identifications, the impact of each system and/or technique on DOTMLPF-P, and acquisition recommendations.


US Navy 090512-N-2013O-013 A Mark II Talon robot from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Det. Japan, is used to inspect a suspicious package during a force protection-anti-terrorism training exercise

Talon: The TALON transmits in color, black and white, infrared, and/or night vision to its operator, who may be up to 1,000 m away. It can run off lithium-ion batteries for a maximum of 7 days on standby independently before needing recharging. It has an 8.5 hour battery life at normal operating speeds, 2 standard lead batteries providing 2 hours each and 1 optional Lithium Ion providing an additional 4.5 hours. It weighs less than 100 lb (45 kg) or 60 lb (27 kg) for the Reconnaissance version. Its cargo bay accommodates a variety of sensor payloads. The robot is controlled through a two-way radio or a Fiber-optic link from a portable or wearable Operator Control Unit (OCU) that provides continuous data and video feedback for precise vehicle positioning. The (IED/EOD) TALON Carries sensors and a robotic manipulator, which is used by the U.S. Military for explosive ordnance disposal and disarming improvised explosive devices.

Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV): SUGVs are lightweight, rugged, specialized systems suitable for military applications in congested urban settings to give users the ability to see around corners and into tight spaces.

Packbot: The PackBot is a series of military robots by iRobot.

Throwbots: Throwbots (from "throwable robot") are rugged, highly portable, and instantly and easily deployable reconnaissance robots.

Soldier worn protection[edit]

Body Armor: Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have a large assortment of wearable protection against the effects of blasts and shrapnel. There have been many advancements made in ergonomics, blast resistant material and infection prevention over the last couple decades. Currently there are many options available for dismounted troops to protect them from all types of danger. Below are a few of the currently fielded systems and what is to come.

E-SAPI/X-SAPI ballistic plates: Armored plates (of a shape and curvature to be placed against the body) that provide protection from explosively-formed projectiles.

Pelvic Protection System: To reduce casualties and minimize damage to vital areas of the body the U.S. Army teamed with other organizations and the industry to develop and rapidly field the Pelvic Protective System. The system is currently composed of two layers, an inner layer (underwear) and outer layer (ballistic protection)[1]

Armored/Mine-Resistant and Counter-IED Vehicles[edit]

MRAP (Cougar variant) being blast tested

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles[edit]

US - Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle: The MRAP program was prompted by U.S. deaths in Iraq.[2] As recently as 2007, the U.S. military has ordered the production of about 10,000 MRAPs at a cost of over $500,000 each, and planned to order more MRAPs. Currently there are many different variants produced by several different manufacturers.[3]


U.S. - Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV): The M1 ABV is a 70-ton armored vehicle nicknamed "The Shredder," it is designed to clear paths for troops to advance through minefields or areas where improvised explosive devices might be buried. The ABVs can be equipped with a plow and bulldozer blade to breach obstacles or dig up mines. They can also be equipped with a line charge, packed with C4 explosives that can be launched and detonated from the vehicle. ABVs first got extensive use in Afghanistan in 2010 when the U.S. Marines brought them in to help deal with the IEDs, a popular weapon of the Taliban there. "The Assault Breacher Vehicle is a tracked, combat-(engineered) vehicle designed to provide the capability for deliberate and in-stride breaching of mine fields and complex obstacles for the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team according to the 2d Infantry Division.

Mastiff 3 Protected Patrol Vehicle in Afghanistan MOD 45155370

British - Mastiff 3 Protected Patrol Vehicle: The Mastiff is a heavily armored, 6 x six-wheel-drive patrol vehicle which carries eight troops, plus two crew. It is currently on its third variation. It is suitable for road patrols and convoys and is the newest in a range of protected patrol vehicles being used for operations. Mastiff has a maximum speed of 90kph, is armed with the latest weapon systems, including a 7.62mm general purpose machine gun, 12.7mm heavy machine gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher. They have Bowman radios and electronic countermeasures and are fitted with additional armor beyond the standard level to ensure they have the best possible protection.

Modified Construction Equipment[edit]

IDF Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer, which is used by the IDF for clearing IEDs/Mines

The Caterpillar D9 is a large track-type tractor designed and manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. It is usually sold as a bulldozer equipped with a detachable large blade and a rear ripper attachment. The D9, with 354 kW (474 hp) of gross power and an operating weight of 49 tons, is in the upper end of Caterpillar's track-type tractors, which range in size from the D3 57 kW (77 hp), 8 tons, to the D11 698 kW (935 hp), 104 tons. The size, durability, reliability, and low operating costs have made the D9 one of the most popular large track-type tractors in the world. The Komatsu D275A is one of its most direct competitors.

The Israel Defense Forces Combat Engineering Corps uses an armored version of the D9, called IDF Caterpillar D9 "Doobi", to clear paths and operational terrain from landmines and a various IEDs. The heavy armor and durable construction of the IDF D9 enable it to withstand very heavy "belly charges" (IEDs weighing more than 100 kg planted underground to hit the hull of an armored fighting vehicle) which are capable of destroying main battle tanks. The IDF also have a remote-controlled version of the D9N, called "Raam HaShachar" ("Dawn Thunder" in Hebrew) to clear IEDs in very dangerous environments.

The United States Army uses an armored version of the Caterpillar D7 to clear landmines. A remote version of the D7 exists.

Infantry Fighting Vehicles[edit]

Bradley Fighting Vehicle provides security for airport stronghold

US - Bradley Fighting Vehicle The Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) is an American fighting vehicle platform manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, formerly United Defense. It was named after U.S. General Omar Bradley. The Bradley is designed to transport infantry or scouts with armor protection while providing covering fire to suppress enemy troops and armored vehicles. There are several Bradley variants, including the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. The M2 holds a crew of three: a commander, a gunner and a driver, as well as six fully equipped soldiers. The M3 mainly conducts scout missions and carries two scouts in addition to the regular crew of three, with space for additional TOW missiles.

Germany - Puma

UK - Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) Specialist vehicle

US - Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV)

US - Stryker

Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicle

The IAV Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled, armored fighting vehicles derived from the Canadian LAV III and produced by General Dynamics Land Systems for the United States Army. It has 4-wheel drive (8x4) and can be switched to all-wheel drive (8x8).[4] The vehicle is named for two American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor: Private First Class Stuart S. Stryker, who died in World War II and Specialist Four Robert F. Stryker, who died in the Vietnam War.

Main Battle Tanks[edit]

M1A2 "Tusk" Abrams Tank

U.S. - M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank The M1 Abrams is an American third-generation main battle tank produced by the United States. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and Commander of U.S. military forces in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1972. Highly mobile, designed for modern armored ground warfare,[10] the M1 is well armed and heavily armored. Notable features include the use of a powerful gas turbine engine (multifuel capable, usually fueled with JP8 jet fuel), the adoption of sophisticated composite armor, and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment for crew safety. Weighing nearly 68 short tons (almost 62 metric tons), it is one of the heaviest main battle tanks in service.

Russia - T-90

South Korea - K2 Black Panther

Turkey - Altay

Armored Personnel Carriers[edit]

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

U.S. - M113 APC: APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun. They are usually not designed to take part in a direct-fire battle, but to carry troops to the battlefield safe from shrapnel and ambush. They may have wheels or tracks. Examples include the American M113 (tracked), the French VAB (wheeled), the Dutch/German GTK Boxer (wheeled) and the Soviet BTR (wheeled). The infantry fighting vehicle is a further development of the armoured personnel carrier. In addition to the task of carrying infantry to battle safely they are more heavily armed and armoured and are designed for direct combat.

US - Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC)

Brazil - Viatura Blindada Transporte de Pessoal, Media de Rodas (VBTP-MR) Guarani vehicle procurement program

Germany and Netherlands - Boxer

France - Véhicule Blindé Multirole (VBMR)

South Africa - Sapula

China - Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV)

Light Multirole Vehicle[edit]

JLTV concepts from various competitors

U.S. - Joint Light Tactical vehicle (JLTV):The JLTV is a United States military (specifically U.S. Army, USSOCOM, and U.S. Marine Corps) program to replace the Humvee that is currently in service[2] with a family of more survivable vehicles with greater payload. In particular, the Humvee was not designed to be an armored combat and scout vehicle but has been employed as one, whereas the JLTV will be designed from the ground up for this role. Production is planned for 2015. The U.S. Army planned to buy 60,000 and the U.S. Marine Corps planned for 5,500 vehicles in 2010.[3]

Up Armored Humvee

U.S. - High Mobility, Multi-purpose, Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or "Hummer"; The HMMWV, commonly known as the Humvee, is a four-wheel drive military automobile produced by AM General.[6] It has largely supplanted the roles formerly served by smaller jeeps such as the M151 1⁄4-ton (230 kg), the M561 "Gama Goat", their M718A1 and M792 ambulance versions, the CUCV, and other light trucks. Primarily used by the United States military, it is also used by numerous other countries and organizations and even in civilian adaptations. The Humvee's widespread use in the Persian Gulf War helped inspire the civilian Hummer automotive marque.

Canada - Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV)

Australia - Protected Mobility Vehicles–Light (PMV-L)

Tactical Trucks[edit]

France - Porteur Polyvalent Terrestre (PPT)

Canada - Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS)

South Africa - Vistula

Electronic countermeasures (jammers, ECM)[edit]

Duke V3 Counter Radio-controlled Electronic Warfare jamming system

Duke Version 3 Vehicle mounted CREW system: Duke V3, manufactured by SRCTec, Inc., is a counter radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) electronic warfare (CREW) system that was developed to provide U.S. forces critical, life-saving protection against a wide range of threats. It is a field deployable system that was designed to have minimal size, weight and power requirements while providing simple operation and optimal performance in order to provide force protection against radio-controlled IEDs. CREW Duke V3 consists of a primary unit known as the CREW Duke V2 and a secondary unit that features advanced electronic warfare subsystems to counter emerging advanced RCIED technologies. Advanced EW components and techniques are implemented to combat complex threat infrastructures in order to provide a maximum protection radius while minimizing the overall system cost and prime power consumption requirements.

CVRJ CREW Vehicle Receiver Jammer

CVRJ (CREW Vehicle Receiver Jammer) U.S. Marines: [1], The primary purpose of the CVRJ system is to defeat existing Radio Frequency (RF) threats and newly identified Hard-to-Kill RF threats. The CVRJ system accomplishes its primary mission by jamming each threat's transmitted RF signals. The secondary purpose of the CVRJ system is to add the capability to combine multiple internal RF signals and external RF inputs from other systems, and serve as the conduit for transmitting those RF signals while maintaining system interoperability. It accomplishes both missions via 15 waveform programmable RF channels. The system is software controlled to meet specific threats. Indicators on the CVRJ front panel and Remote Control Unit (RCU) allow the operator to observe system health and diagnostic messages. Built-In-Test (BIT) routines run during system initialization and operation that notify the operator of system faults by illuminating indicators referred to as "annunciators" and by displaying text messages on the RCU display. The system is highly automated which reduces operator interaction. The system draws up to 36 amps of vehicle power, weighs approximately 69 lbs, and measures 13"H x 14"W x 19"D.

Vehicle Jammer System STAR V: Protective modular jamming system STAR V 740 is intended for a protection against RCIED. The system either prevents the activation of RCIED or it can significantly reduce the distance for a bomb activation. The system is used to protect the special EOD teams or for a convoy protection. The jamming is performed by random frequency sweeping in a few frequencies sub-bands at the same time. Each sub-band has a possibility to set up to two communication windows for mutual radio communication. The jamming system is equipped with 8 wideband transmitters, 3 low pass filters, 1 combiner, 6 Omni-directional antennas and 8 wide-band digital exciters. The higher level of jamming efficiency is accomplished by using more parallel subsystems and digital technology. The jamming system is intended as a mobile system which is installed in the vehicle. It is equipped with the Omni-directional antennas that are part of the system. The output power of the jammer is up to 740 W. The jamming system is easily controlled and the failures are easily diagnosed. It is controlled on the front panel. The operator can switch on/off particular transmitting systems and subsystems, set up to three jamming sub-bands in each. Dwell time in each sub-band can also be modified. Jammer is equipped with IP, RS 485 and USB interface. System is also equipped with special SW which can be installed on a notebook or a PC. Special remote control box is also included. The system's voltage is from 22 V to 30 Volts.

HP 3260 H convoy jammer system installed in a GMC vehicle.

Convoy Jammer System HP 3260 H: Modular jamming system intended to protect surrounding vehicles and personnel against RCIED. Designed for maximum frequency coverage and protection range, the system is used for both, civilian and military motorcades. The modularity enables users to scale the system according to operational requirements and the software allows programming of all signal generators independently to ensure utmost configurability and maximising the effectiveness of the jamming signals.

Two soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division operate Thor and Minehound, two counter-IED devices

Thor III dismounted CREW system: The Thor III system consists of three dismounted man-pack subsystems, one battery charger, and twenty-four batteries (BB-2590/U). Each subsystem contains a R/T (low band, mid band or high band), a Remote Control Unit (RCU), an integration/pack frame, an Rx/Tx Antenna (low band, mid band, or high band), a GPS antenna, cables, and software. Each subsystem is housed in a separate transit case with protective covers. The purpose of the Thor III dismounted system is to provide the user in the field with a wearable Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) jammer that has been designed to counter an array of frequency diverse threats. The system is an expandable, active and reactive, scanning-receiver-based jammer with multiple jamming signal sources that allow it to counter multiple simultaneous threats.

Joint IED Neutralizer (JIN): In 2005, Ionatron attempted to develop an anti IED device that would "zap" IEDs from a distance by using lasers to ionize the air and allow man-made lightning to shoot towards the devices detonating them at a safe distance. By using femtosecond lasers light pulses that last less than a ten-trillionth of a second JIN could carve conductive channels of ionized oxygen in the air. Through these channels, Ionatron's blaster sent man-made lighting bolts.

Thor IED Zappers: The vehicular system is mounted on a remotely controlled weapon station, carrying the laser beam director and high-energy laser and coaxial 12.7mm machine gun to neutralize improvised explosive devices from a safe, standoff distance.[5] Restricted link[6]

Ultra Wide Band High Powered Electro Magnetics: An UWB-HPEM system typically consists of the following components: a battery-based direct current power supply, an actuation system, a semiconductor-based ultra-wideband pulse generator and an ultra-wideband antenna. Depending on the type of threat, it can either set off a sensor-triggered IEDs in a controlled explosion or prevent it from being remotely detonated by radio or mobile phone. A UWB-HPEM system can be loaded onto a vehicle, creating an electromagnetic protection zone for a convoy, potentially in combination with other systems.[7]

IED Countermeasure Equipment (ICE): In the fall of 2004, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and New Mexico State University's Physical Science Laboratory developed a jamming system that uses low-power radio frequency energy to block the radio signals that detonate enemy IEDs.[8][9][10] The IED Countermeasure Equipment is typically mounted on a vehicle and is used to neutralize IEDs when avoiding, disarming, or destroying them is not practical.[11] So far, several thousand ICE systems have been deployed to U.S. military personnel.[12]

Other Countermeasures[edit]

Ground Ordnance Land Disruptor: G.O.L.D is a user filled, explosively driven Counter-IED system that renders buried IEDs safe through a combination of disruption, component separation and expulsion from the ground allowing the IED to remain biometrically intact.[13]

Rhino: Rhino is a box-shaped heating device attached to a long pole that can be mounted to the front of a vehicle to prematurely detonate any buried IEDs in front of the vehicle.[14]

Detection Systems[edit]

A variety of technologies are used to detect landmines, improvised explosive devices (IED) and unexploded ordnance (UXO), including acoustic sensors, animals and biologically-based detection systems (bees, dogs, pigs, rats), chemical sensors, electromagnetic sensors and hyperspectral sensor analysis, generalized radar techniques, ground penetrating radar, lidar and electro-optical sensors (including hyperspectral and millimeter wave), magnetic signatures, nuclear sensors, optical sensors, seismic acoustic sensors, and thermal detection.

Counter-IED Reconnaissance Planes: The U.S. Army's Task Force ODIN-E flies manned reconnaissance aircraft that use an array of full-motion video (FMV), electro-optical (EO), infrared (IR), and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery sensors to find IEDs.[15]

IED Volumetric Detection:[16]

Microwave Based Explosive Caches Detection: Raytheon UK's Soteria vehicle-mounted stand-off system provides high-definition IED detection, confirmation and threat diagnostics from a significant distance. Soteria's optical processing technology has the following capabilities: a high probability of IED detection with a low false positive rate, detection of high, medium, low and zero metal content IEDs, assisted target recognition, and day and night operability. Soteria is also equipped with ground vibration monitoring capabilities in the front of the vehicle.[17]

Non-linear Junction Detector (NLJD): A portable NLJD allows the operator to search voids and areas where they are unable to gain physical or visual access, in order to detect electronic components and determine if the area is free from IEDs.

Laser IED Detection: Scientists are learning to adapt lasers to detect, or defeat, IEDs.[18]

Mine detectors: A portable, hand-held or worn device to detect buried IEDs. There are many different models from several different companies currently in use worldwide by U.S. and coalition forces. These are not your run of the mill metal detectors that you can buy at your local store, they are highly sophisticated, ultra sensitive, programmable devices.[19]

Unmanned Systems intended for Counter-IED[edit]

Current version of PTDS, a widely used Aerostat in combat operations.


Aerostats are balloons equipped with stabilized electro optical, infrared, and radar sensors which are manned 24 hours a day. The Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) is the largest and most capable Aerostat ever used in combat. First used in 2004 (Camp Slayer, Iraq). It can sit for months thousands of feet above a base. Known as the "unblinking eye", Aerostats provide real-time High Definition imagery of the surrounding area, day or night, and are strategically placed for surveillance purposes. They enhance situational awareness and improve force protection. Aerostats can be used to reconnoiter routes before friendly forces travel them and to provide over watch for dismounted troops or convoys. They can also serve as a communications and Full Motion Video (FMV) relay platform to extend the range and disseminate situational awareness. They are linked with several ground-based sensors, including acoustic sensors that detect and locate weapon fire or blasts.

Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS)[edit]

The Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) is a large helium-filled lighter than air system designed by Lockheed Martin to provide soldiers long range intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication assistance.[20]

Since the Civil War, when Union Soldiers utilized hot air balloons to serve as a surveillance platform, airship technology has been a part of the Army's inventory. As U.S. forces began a troop surge in Afghanistan while maintaining security in Iraq, the need to provide soldiers with a persistent view of the battlefield was critical.[21]

In 2003, Lockheed Martin engineers began updating existing naval aerostats with durable materials capable of achieving lift while carrying larger payloads of sensors, cameras and audio equipment. New tethers—lined with a mix of copper wires and fiber-optic cables—transmitted data to a ground control station, which then disseminated near real-time information of hostile activity to operational forces.[22]

The aerostats are reconnaissance tool, gathering intelligence from 100 miles in every direction, 24 hours a day, for weeks on end.[22] In Iraq and Afghanistan, there was a special need for enhanced surveillance, especially in the attempt to counter improvised explosive devices.[23]

The Army Research Laboratory developed and then mounted PTDS with an acoustic-sensor array, known as the Unattended Transient Acoustic MASINT Sensor (UTAMS). The technology detects, locates, and cues a collocated imager to transient sounds, such as enemy mortar, rocket launches, and IED attacks, and calculates the ground location of the threat source. Adding this airborne detection – localization – cueing capability provides accurate intelligence to PTDS.[24] PTDS is compatible with other technology developed by the Army Research Laboratory, such as Serenity Payload and FireFly.[21]

The first PTDS was deployed by the US Army in 2004 and 37 PTDS units were acquired by 2010. Lockheed Martin delivered the final PTDS to the US Army in May 2012, bringing the total number of systems procured by the US Army to 66.[22]

The airship has been one of the Army's major weapons since 2004 and was recognized by the Department of Army Engineers and Scientists as the Army's greatest invention in 2005.[25]

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV)[edit]

A UGV is a vehicle kit system that advances perception, localization and motion planning to protect from IED threats and increase performance in autonomous missions.[26] They typically are adaptable to any tactical wheeled vehicle for the purpose of supervised autonomous navigation in either a lead or follow role. UGVs are multi-sensor systems which use registration techniques to provide accurate positioning estimates without needing to rely on continuous tracking through a lead vehicle or GPS signals. When equipped with a UGV, each vehicle is capable of navigation to the objective independently.


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