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Technologies for countering improvised explosive devices demonstrated in Madrid - NATO
date2006-12-06 09:08:13 Click No.2377

Source: Epicos.com.

        Cutting-edge technologies to protect NATO forces against improvised explosive devices were the focus of a symposium and demonstration held in Madrid, 8-9 November 2006.

        In Afghanistan, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have killed or wounded over a hundred NATO soldiers so far this year, more than any other type of weapon.

        Like landmines, they are indiscriminate weapons that continue to present a major threat to civilians as well as NATO forces. In Afghanistan, over 635 civilians have being killed or wounded by IEDs.

        The event was an important opportunity for national experts and involved industries to work together to find solutions to the force protection needs of deployed forces.

        Participants comprised a mix of government officials from NATO, Partnership for Peace, and Mediterranean Dialogue countries, as well as representatives from industry and research institutions.

        New technologies

        Improvised explosive devices are difficult to protect against because they can be made in a variety of ways, using common materials to avoid detection, and require relatively little skill to produce and use.

        Particular emphasis was placed on stand-off detection (detection from a distance) of improvised explosive devices and their components. One technology on display used terahertz waves, which are naturally emitted by all objects and people, to identify concealed objects. Other technologies remotely analyse traces of explosives or their ingredients.

        Emerging methods to counter improvised explosive devices also include chemical detection devices, which sense explosives through the vapours they emit.

        Several of the technologies have already been tested or even fielded. However, issues such as portability, reliability, strength, and ease of use continue to pose challenges to the research scientists and developmental engineers.

        NATO¨s Defence Against Terrorism Programme

        The work is part of NATO¨s Defence Against Terrorism Programme. Established in 2004, it is a multinational effort to develop cutting-edge technologies that address today¨s most pressing terrorism-related security needs.

        The various projects are funded by individual NATO countries, including Spain for countering IEDs, with the United States providing support.


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