Counter-IED

Jun 1, 2015

Start Date: 2009
End Date: n/a.
Participating Countries:
Other partners:

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have become the weapon of choice of adversaries and this phenomenon is likely to continue for decades. IEDs are fabricated in an improvised manner and designed to destroy property or incapacitate people and vehicles. The design of IEDs and the trigger systems used range from the ‘simple’ to the technologically developed. The production costs in general are low, and the components used include military ammunition like mines or artillery shells as well as freely available chemical components that can be combined to make explosives. Although already used for many decades in civil wars and conflicts worldwide, the casualties caused by IEDs have a cumulative campaign effect and their use is key for terrorists, resistance movements and rogue elements in their fight against technologically superior forces. In Iraq and Afghanistan they have caused the majority of fatalities and casualties of international troops.

Project goals

    The process was started in 2007 when accepted international doctrine stated that Countering IEDs consisted of 6 key operational areas:
  • Detect
  • Mitigate
  • Neutralise
  • Exploit
  • Predict
  • Prevent

Detailed description of the project 

In an EDA context, a group of willing participants set out to analyse exactly what each of these disciplines meant and break them down into military capabilities arriving at those that were specifically considered to be in the CIED envelope. For example, predicting an IED attack involves, intelligence gathering, all sources intelligence fusion and intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). A number of distinct capabilities necessary for CIED were deduced. Then those felt to be general military skills were deleted. For example, whilst all sources intelligence fusion is key to a CIED fight, it is similarly crucial in almost any military campaign and was therefore not in the scope of CIED. As a result, the capabilities below were published as forming a CIED capability:

1. Military Search
 2. IED Exploitation
 3. Route Clearance
 4. Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTPs)
 5. Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD)
 6. Mitigation
 7. Detection
 8. Counter Radio-controlled IED Electronic Warfare (CREW)

Each capability was then addressed across all of the Defence Lines of Development (DLODs) using the Multi-nationally accepted DOTMLPFI to see how EDA participating Member States (pMS) could have their capabilities enhanced. Whilst none wanted to go forward with CREW, due to security concerns, all other capabilities were addressed. In the most part it was felt that the provision of catalytic training to spread understanding was the most appropriate method of assisting pMS. The intention was not simply to train a number of individuals, but to train key personnel who then return home and develop capabilities. The EDA is not a training organisation and whilst enduring training is not carried out, one-off catalytic courses can be.

In Military Search, a five-year programme under Italian leadership was started and so far three courses have taken place, each in different aspects, two more are planned. Under an Irish lead, a course in Ground Sign Awareness has run and a Combat Tracking course is planned. Again under an Irish lead, two specialist IEDD courses have been run and a multi-national exercise is being conducted in Austria in June 2012.

In the area of detection, a five-stage process in identifying a potential research and technology programmes was initiated:

1. Two scientific studies into state of the art detection techniques and a terahertz detection technology survey;
2. A workshop was held where a number of IED scenarios were defined;
3. Engineering analysis was done to match the scenarios to possible detection technologies;
4. The results of this analysis were then briefed to industry, who then contributed;
5. The final results will be used to suggest research programmes to pMS in a possible joint programme.

Other Research and Technology programmes in the EDA have addressed armours and a new helmet to mitigation the effects of IEDs.

In TTPs a Lessons Identified workshop was run in Sweden in 2010. This workshop has been continued by the NATO accredited CIED Centre of Excellence in Spain and become an annual event.

For Route Clearance, again under an Italian lead, a process of Concept Development and Evaluation (CD&E) is in progress, examining the next generation of Route Clearance capability.

Finally, the EDA has developed a Level-2 exploitation capability that has deployed into Kabul under a French lead, which is providing a valued contribution to the operation and acting as a Demonstrator for all EDA pMS. After the completion of the mision in Afghanistan, the equipment and experience from the lab was used to form a training facility in the Netherlands known as the JDEAL project. Two new deployable labs are also being procured under this project.

EDA, under Austrian lead, is also running courses on Manual Neutralisation Training. 


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Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK