Terrorist activities are expanding all over the world at an alarming rate. As such terrorist groups are now armed with latest technologies; it is the need of the hour to counter such technical assailants. IED or an Improvised Explosive Device is explosive designed to be deployed by means other than conventional military action. It is often connected to a remote detonating mechanism. IEDs have previously been used in terrorist warfare for guerrilla attacks in US- Iraq war, Taliban of Afghanistan and LTTE of Sri Lanka.
In order to safeguard the public and military from such attacks, counter IED equipment have been designed for IED protection. Such devices are primarily created for military and law enforcement. They are used for detection of explosives and a variety of explosive precursor components especially in counter insurgency, counter terrorism or major law enforcement operations. Detection and system specifics for devices designed for IED protection are assessed using Technological Readiness Levels (TRLs) which list the characteristics and capabilities of counter IED equipment.
The principle specifics of counter IED are:
1. Processing Time
2. Detection Rate of explosives
3. Effective detection range
4. False positive rate
5. Detection depths in various kinds of soil.
6. Penetration capability.
7. Range of explosive types covered
8. All weather compatibility
A device successfully tested for all the above specifics is then approved for military usage.
Due to the dire necessity for protection against terrorist attacks there is a wide range of counter IEDs that has been developed by governments all around the world. The major types of these machines are:
1. Robots: These are high tech lightweight systems which are suitable for military applications in explosive detection and reconnaissance. They are highly durable, portable and easy to deploy.
2. Soldier Worn Protection Systems: Specialised body armours and pelvis protection systems designed for Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors to minimise the effects of blasts and shrapnel.
3. Armoured or Mine Resistant Vehicles: These include but are not limited to
a. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles
b. Armoured Personnel Carriers
c. Infantry Fighting Vehicles
d. Main Battle Tanks
e. Modified Construction Equipment
4. Jammers: These are microprocessor based electronic systems that are capable of disrupting the functioning of IEDs and rendering them useless. They can be vehicle oriented, individual oriented or stationary jammers depending upon the location and type of application.
6. 5. Aerostats: Aerostats are 24/7 manned balloons which are equipped with radar sensors, stabilised electro optical and infrared sensors. The largest and most powerful aerostat to be used in combat is the Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS). Due to their ability to provide real time high definition images of the nearby areas at any time of the day, they are more popularly known as the “Unblinking Eye.”
6. Unmanned Ground Vehicles: UGV is a kit system that is used for planning in protection from IED threats and improving performance of military operations.
Human life is precious. Over the last two decades terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of millions of people in the world. IED protection technologies are helping governments to prevent and minimise causalities from such future attacks.