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Posts tagged "improvised explosive device"

Smoke from the controlled detonation of improvised explosive devices rises behind a U.S. Marine Corps mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in Afghanistan. (AFP)

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A US Marine runs to safety as an improvised explosive device explodes in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2009. (AFP via Getty Images)


The Pentagon’s counter-IED organization will shrink nearly 90 percent in the coming years from its peak strength in 2010 but expand its missions, according to US Defense Department documents.

In one of his final decisions as deputy defense secretary, Ashton Carter, who left the Pentagon on Wednesday, said the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) should sustain its ability to support US forces in Afghanistan and the evolving counter-IED requirements around the world.

The personnel cuts will come over the next four years, shrinking JIEDDO down to a “base capacity level” of about 400 people in 2017. At its peak in April 2010, the organization had more than 3,900 people.

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  • Giles Duley stepped on an IED while on patrol with American soldiers in February, 2011
  • War photographer returned to Afghanistan to document plight of wounded locals
  • Afghanistan 2012 – an exhibition by Giles Duley take place in the House of Commons on Monday 2 September at 12:15pm


Mohammed Hanif is tended to by his grandfather. He was injured after he picked up an unexploded device. Many children in Afghanistan are injured when playing with UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance).

Every agonising detail of the split seconds during which his life was torn apart are seared on the memory of renowned photographer Giles Duley.

The sound of the click made by the pressure plate in the landmine as he stepped on it, the sensation of being thrown through the air by the explosion, the realisation he had lost three of his limbs after being blown up by an improvised explosive devise while covering the Afghanistan war in 2011, are all as clear as if it were yesterday.

But undeterred by his horrific injuries, Giles vowed to return to the war-torn country once he had undergone gruelling rehabilitation to detail the plight of the Afghani people caught up in the conflict.

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The SiN-VAPOR sensor is placed in a device to identify chemical compounds.
(Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Jamie Hartman)

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are homemade bombs that can both injure and kill civilians and service members. For the Department of Defense, one solution to the problem of IEDs is to find them before they explode by detecting the chemicals used in the explosives. Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed a technology, using silicon to fabricate a sensor that may revolutionize the way trace chemical detection is conducted.

The sensor, called Silicon Nanowires in a Vertical Array with a Porous Electrode, or SiN-VAPOR, is a small, portable, lightweight, low power, low overhead sensor that NRL researchers hope can be distributed to warfighters in the field and to security personnel at airports across the globe.

SiN-VAPOR is an example of nanotechnology. “Nanoscale is 1x10-9 meters,” explains Dr. Christopher Field, the NRL scientist leading this research. “So, let’s assume that the diameter of a human hair is 100 microns. If you can take the diameter of a human hair, cut it, and look at the cross section area. We can fit a million of our nanowires in the cross section area of a single human hair.”

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Dirty Tricks: Disabled Teacup Bomb, a.k.a. “A Bomb for Fools.” 

We met today in Baghdad with a few bomb disposal supervisors as part of research for a project in works. After the first talks, our hosts invited us upstairs to a room with some of the local collection. They said each of these items had been an actual IED. We can’t vouch for that. We can say it was an interesting and thought-provoking display. There were several samples of victim-operated IEDs, including a few that looked straight from the pages of the old USG Special Forces manuals from the 1960s, which became part of the foundation of al Qaeda manuals. This booby-trapped tea set, arranged so some of the electrical contacts can be seen, caught our eye. More later. Busy now. Via Instagram.

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.

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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


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.

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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.

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