Posts tagged improvised explosive device
Posts tagged improvised explosive device
A Sandia engineer who trained U.S. soldiers to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has developed a fertilizer that helps plants grow but can’t detonate a bomb. It’s an alternative to ammonium nitrate, an agricultural staple that is also the raw ingredient in most of the IEDs in Afghanistan.
Sandia has decided not to patent or license the formula, but to make it freely available in hopes of saving lives.
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is illegal in Afghanistan but legal in neighboring Pakistan, where a quarter of the gross domestic product and half the workforce depend on agriculture. When mixed with a fuel such as diesel, ammonium nitrate is highly explosive. It was used in about 65 percent of the 16,300 homemade bombs in Afghanistan in 2012, according to government reports. There were 9,300 IED events in the country in 2009.
Preparing a Shrine.
This weekend will mark the 2013 E.O.D. Memorial Ceremony to honor techs killed in action in the past year.
Who are EOD techs? These are the men and women who, among many other things, find, identify, disable and gather evidence from makeshift bombs — weapons that have become the leading cause of injuries to American service members and that were used in the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks. It is hard to conceive of a profession that is both more essential and more dangerous than this one, and often, as the memorial above suggests, more selfless.
The ceremony is held each May at the E.O.D. Memorial, located directly across the street from the main building of the E.O.D. school on Eglin Air Force Base. The four plaques on the wall list techs killed in action — one plaque for each of the four American military services. The lower photograph, above, shows several Air Force techs killed in recent years.
For each name there was a life. Consider, for just one example from the center of the small section of the list shown above, Technical Sergeant Anthony L, Capra. Sergeant Capra was killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in early 2009. He was the father of five. He was killed on his fourth combat tour.
More names will be added to the lists, and read aloud, on Saturday.
To support the EOD Memorial Foundation, go here.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS
Top, a working party cleans the memorial ahead of the ceremony. This morning. Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Bottom, detail of the Air Force list.
Sailors react to a simulated improvised explosive device detonation during a San Diego training session, Oct. 28, 2011. Photo: Flickr/U.S. Navy
Like all wars, the war in Afghanistan must someday end. But the end of its signature weapon may not arrive on the same schedule.
Insurgents’ homemade bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, look increasingly like a lasting fixture on the early-21st century battlefield. The Pentagon’s bomb squad warns that the cheap, easily fabricated family of explosives are spreading all around the world. But it doesn’t know how long the devices themselves last.
The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, JIEDDO, collects sheafs of data about the bombs. It knows what sorts of materials go into the bombs, where the materials come from, what countermeasures succeed at stopping the blasts (and which ones fail), and how many of them turn out to be duds. But to date, it hasn’t acquired any data about the lifespan of an improvised explosive device. “There are no historical records or analysis documenting how effective emplaced and undetonated IEDs may become over time,” David Small, JIEDDO’s spokesman, tells Danger Room.
As I wrote earlier this week, footage has been emerging from the recently overrun Air Base near Taftanaz, and footage has now been posted that appears to show the DIY barrel bombs (ADIEDs) that have been dropped across Syria.
IEDs are the biggest cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Interesting fact from the article: Taliban leader Mullah Omar banned the use of anti-personnel landmines in 1998 denouncing such weapons as ‘un-Islamic’ and ‘anti-human.’
New York, Oct 21 2012 3:10PM
Following the deaths of at least 18 women, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today called on the Taliban leadership to publicly reiterate a ban on landmine-like improvised explosive device (IEDs) and to stop their use.
“Any use of this heinous weapon should cease immediately,” added the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš, in a news release. “I repeat once again UNAMA’s many calls to all anti-Government elements to protect and respect the lives of all Afghan civilians.”
The UNAMA news release noted that the Mission condemned the killing of at least 18 women in Dawlatabad District, Balkh, in the country’s north, on Friday, and “offers its condolences to the families of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery for those injured.”
JIEDDO is still having an impact but its future is uncertain. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, now more than six years old, faces the possibility that it might not remain whole amid a defense budget squeeze and a drawdown from Afghanistan.
That could be a blow to an organization whose mission is to save the lives of service members fighting in Afghanistan, where IEDs cause 60 percent of all casualties.
Here’s the data: a JIEDDO official told Situation Report that the “effective attack rate” is down by more than 30 percent from two years ago. Meanwhile, the rate of IEDs that are found and cleared without injury is up: the found-and-cleared rate for IEDs designed for mounted patrols are up from 54 percent a year ago to 65 percent today; the rate for IEDs designed to kill or mail service members on “dismounted” patrols are up from 76 percent a year ago to 78 percent today.
University of Connecticut scientists have developed a novel buried explosive detection system using a nanofiberous film and ultraviolet light. Image, top, shows a Petri dish (left) with buried trace levels of 2,4-DNT explosive in soil and a Petri dish (right) without DNT. Image, bottom, shows each Petri dish after application of the chemical sensing film and following 30 minutes exposure under ultraviolet light. The location of the buried DNT appears in the Petri dish (left) as a dark blot on the film.
A chemical sensing system developed by engineers at the University of Connecticut is believed to be the first of its kind capable of detecting vapors from buried landmines and other explosive devices with the naked eye rather than advanced scientific instrumentation.
The research was first reported in the May 11, 2012 online edition of Advanced Functional Materials.
The key to the system is a fluorescent nanofiberous film that can detect ultra-trace levels of explosive vapors and buried explosives when applied to an area where explosives are suspected. A chemical reaction marking the location of the explosive device occurs when the film is exposed to handheld ultraviolet light.
ANTAKYA, Turkey — The lethal attack on Wednesday on President Bashar al-Assad’s senior security chiefs aligned neatly with a tactical shift that had changed the direction of Syria’s long conflict: the opposition fighters’ swift and successful adoption of makeshift bombs.
Bombs have been in rebel use since violence intensified in Syria in late 2011. But since midspring, anti-Assad fighters have become bolder and sharply more effective with their use, and not only in what is apparently their hand in the assassinations in Damascus.
Improvised bombs have steadily become the most punishing weapon in the otherwise underequipped rebels’ arsenal, repeatedly destroying Syria’s main battle tanks, halting army convoys and inflicting heavy casualties on government ground operations in areas where armed resistance is strong, Western analysts and rebel field commanders and fighters said.
Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006. Joey Campagna/Courtesy of the author
Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.
“We would disassemble the IEDs when somebody else found them; we would go on route-clearance patrols with the engineers to trip the ambushes before they would hit our convoys; and we would do the post-blast investigations,” Castner tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “Hopefully we would find weapons caches and dispose of a lot of this bulk ordnance before it would be used as an IED. … But there was no getting rid of all of the bombs.”
Sometimes those bombs would go off and Castner’s team would be responsible for investigating the gruesome aftermath.
U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Johnson joined the military later in life than many of his colleagues in the armed forces.
Few people can say that on any given day, they may be putting themselves in the line of fire to save the lives of others. For former Brighton resident Christopher Johnson, on the other hand, it’s something of an occupational hazard.
That’s exactly what it was Nov. 7 when the convoy the U.S. Army specialist was traveling in struck an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Before the scene could be secured and the all-clear command given, ensuring the area of the attack was safe for the rest of the servicemembers in the convoy, he sprinted forward to treat the injured.
“I rushed to the scene because I’m their medic, and I knew every minute I waited, there could be more chance for their injuries to elevate — with the chance of losing them if their injuries were bad enough,” he said in a recent e-mail from Afghanistan.