Improvised explosive devices – known worldwide as IEDs – are the weapon of choice of terrorists because they require limited skills to build and provide dramatic results for very little investment of time, money and effort. The impact of a surprising and spectacular explosion far outweighs attacks using more conventional weapons. As a result, the IED has become the weapon of choice for insurgents.
With easy access to commercial technologies, internet training and the ability to either make or obtain explosive materials, IEDs continue to provide the enemy an inexpensive, stand-off, precision weapons systems with near total anonymity.
IEDs will remain a threat throughout the world. They will grow in sophistication and frequency as more enemies of peace realise the potential psychological, social and political impact such a weapon provides. There is no other weapon that draws the mass media focus, sheer panic and strategic influence than the IED. CTX will showcase technological solutions to mitigate this prevalent threat, and discuss the key issues.
David Thompson, CTX Event Manager said, “The C-IED component of Counter Terror Expo grows year on year and CTX is recognised as a valuable platform to demonstrate this vitally important area of capability. Explosive devices are, of course, a threat to societies around the world and this is reflected by the increasingly international audience that attends each year”.
IEDs have changed the arc of how America and its allies wage war, how land systems are designed and how military medicine cares for the wounded. More than a half of Coalition troops killed or wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been victims of IEDs planted in the ground, in vehicles or buildings, worn as suicide vests, or loaded into vehicles, according to data from the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).
Such devices also have the potential to cause devastating damage on transport infrastructure and in public areas. The number of civilian casualties from improvised explosive devices, including car bombs and suicide attacks, has increased by 70% over the past three years, according to new research. More than 53,000 civilians were killed or injured by IEDs in the last two years, with the numbers of suicide attacks and car bombing increasing exponentially. Civilians account for more than 80% of those killed or injured.
CTX will also provide expert insight into the challenges posed by IEDs within its established conference. The Critical National Infrastructure stream will showcase how best to mitigate the risk to, and guarantee the safety and resilience of, critical physical and information assets and networks. Internationally recognised experts in infrastructure protection will gather at the conference to focus on how to strengthen our threat awareness, emergency preparedness and response capabilities. Participants will include Francis Morgan, Security Director, Heathrow Airport; Mark Prouse, Head of Security & Resilience Policy & Response, Department of Energy & Climate Change; Graham Wright, CISO & Head of Digital, National Grid; and Thomas Wuchte, Head of Anti-Terrorism Issues, Action Against Terrorism Unit, Organisation for Security Co-operation in Europe.
Security agencies dealing with the menace of IEDs, especially in countries like India and Pakistan, are firmly focused on procuring suitable capabilities to first detect and then safely dispose of such mechanisms. Given the pressing and increasing threat that these devices pose to security at many levels, it is no surprise that latest detection, protection, robotic and disposal solutions will form a significant component of CTX 2015.
The Advanced Technologies Zone represents the future of counter terrorism – It will play host to the latest technology, presenting world-renowned speakers and relevant case studies. It will be a unique opportunity to see cutting edge technology up close and fully understand how it can be integrated effectively. It is worth noting there will be a C-IED representative present at this zone.
The Zone will also be the perfect opportunity for SMEs to present their innovative technology for the first time to a wider audience.
Innovation on the exhibition floor
The CTX exhibitor list includes AB Precision, a company with 30 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) equipment. Its customer base spans military, law enforcement and security agencies around the world, including the UK MOD. The company’s product range encompasses remotely operated vehicles, conventional disruptors and de-armers, recoilless disruptors and de-armers, lightweight disrupters and de-armers and specialist military equipment, such as miniature exploders and non-magnetic toolkits.
Also exhibiting is Alford Technologies, which offers a pioneering portfolio of products including, explosive water-projecting disruptors for deployment against small to large size IEDs. The HE BootBanger is a water disruptor for use against Vehicle-Borne IEDs (VBIED) which has been widely fielded around the world and has played an important role in countering the vehicle-borne IED threat in Iraq.
Other solutions include the MiniMod Mk2, a lightweight system ideal for disrupting IEDs ranging in size from a briefcase up to a large suitcase or even an animal carcass, while the MajorMod™ is a medium weight, explosively driven water disruptor for use against medium sized IEDs such as fire extinguishers.
Chemring is a global provider of counter threat solutions to security and military users with a capability that spans counter terrorism, EOD and search, counter IED and Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) Chemring’s offering includes the WASP lightweight multi-shot disruptor for dismounted EOD teams. Easily carried and operated by a single person, it is suitable for conventional EOD or Special Forces dismounted operations.
The company’s EOD range also comprises recoilless stand-off disruptors, available in small, medium and large options for the neutralisation of unexploded ordnance and IEDs. Where weight is not as issue, the company offers ‘Pigstick’ and ‘Hotrod’ disruptors for tackling medium and heavy IEDs.
Chemring’s RE 88 FNK RoV is an integrated cryogenic system for mounting on full size robotic vehicles when it is necessary to employ a freezing technique. This is where the bomb is reduced to a suitably cold temperature so the battery would no longer be able to transmit a charge and the wires could be disconnected safely.
Prevention is an important weapon in the war against IEDs and Digital RF’s range of counter terrorist and surveillance solutions includes Blackshadow jammers. Incorporating the latest technology, Blackshadow is a compact integrated system which can be equipped with a wide range of frequency jamming modules. Typical applications include the protection of VIPs, military and security staff, and EOD teams. Users include military, NATO and civil defence organisations throughout the world. Portable briefcase and backpack versions are available.
Guartel Technologies designs and manufactures metal, mine and wire detectors, together with specialist electro optical search equipment. The company’s customer base includes police, security, NGOs and NATO. Guartel also supplies bespoke EOD/IEDD vehicle packages which convert a standard box body vehicle or chassis into a high specification response vehicle, complete with equipment such as ROVs, tools and PPE.
Unmanned vehicles are playing an increasingly important role today and CTX exhibitors include ICOR Technologywhose CALIBER® family of robots offers five different sized platforms providing remote capabilities for SWAT, EOD and Hazmat teams. The company is able to provide customised solutions for each of its modular robotic platforms.
Icor’s line-up also includes OpenVision™ Live Video X-Ray, a lightweight live video X-ray imaging system that provides real-time video X-ray safely for hand held use without the need for evacuation of public areas, and SCANX SCOUT™ portable digital imaging systems.
iRobot’s unmanned ground vehicles are designed to reduce the risk to personnel, operate downrange, report data and deliver predictive intelligence. The range starts with 110 FirstLook, a compact, rugged and expandable lightweight robot for use by tactical officers, soldiers and emergency response teams.
310 SUGV is a backpack-portable robot for dismounted and mobile operations which can climb stairs, manipulate objects and travel at six mph. The larger 510 PackBot is designed for bomb disposal, surveillance and reconnaissance, CBRN detection and HazMat handling, relaying real-time video, audio and sensor data.
The iRobot 710 Kobra is described as a ‘force multiplier’, capable of carrying payloads in excess of 330 lbs. The robot can negotiate rough terrain, stairs and other obstacles without detriment to its performance.
Unmanned ground vehicles are also a speciality of NIC Instruments – the company’s lightweight First Responder can be configured to the needs of specific missions. The unit can easily be repaired in the field.
MAS Zengrange Ltd specialise in explosive remote initiation systems to support a wide range of military applications including demolition, explosive ordnance disposal and battlefield simulation. The solutions use proven, reliable, safe and secure transmitters and receivers to enable explosive and pyrotechnic initiation. There are specialised designs for Special Forces.
The important field of training is also represented by ISSEE which delivers commercial explosives and counter-terrorism training to clients worldwide.
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