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  • IED Trends
    Posted by Nicholas Fiorenza 3:24 PM on Dec 02, 2011

    There wasn't enough room for my full contribution to the insurgent technology feature in this month's DTI, so here's my full report on the IED trends identified by German army Lt.Col. Thomas Enke, chief of the multinational explosive ordnance control center of the 1st German-Netherlands Corps, currently in the same position in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

    One of these trends is away from the use of military explosives and ammunition to civilian explosives like ammonium nitrate/fuel oil and dynamite. In future, he expects more homemade explosives to be used, as was done during the 7/7 attacks on London in 2005. These include potassium chlorate, ammonium nitrate and aluminum explosives and newly developed peroxide mixtures.

    Another trend is from the use of ammunition such as mines and shells and just explosives themselves towards explosives with fragments like nails and improvised shells, explosive formed projectiles (EFP) and improvised Claymore-style mines. The latter are like the original with steel balls covered in resin that can penetrate 2-3 cm of steel, which Enke predicts will soon be used in Afghanistan.

    A third trend is the use of ever larger charges from less than 5 kg used against unprotected targets like vehicles supporting ISAF to over 300 kg against heavily protected targets like main battle tanks and armored infantry vehicles and direct focused fragment charges and EFP against weakly protected targets. Charges exceeding 500 kg are being stockpiled in Waziristan, according to Enke.

    Enke also identifies trends in means of initiation such as programmable dual telephone multi-frequency decoders with safe and arming signals and using different frequencies, which can be built into a 107 mm rocket and are being produced in series of 500-1,000 in Waziristan. Anti-personnel mines and even two saws have been used as non-electrical pressure plates and the trend is towards using non-metal pressure plates. One tactic used in southwestern Afghanistan is to lay anti-personnel mines around an IED, possibly connected with a detonating cord. Another trend is towards the initiation of IEDs by the countermeasures of the victims and the use of digital initiation systems with anti-jamming capabilities.

    Enke notes the use of all kinds of civilian and military blasting caps, which work outside the range of jammers, and even the possibility of substituting a cigarette lighter for a blasting cap, although he questions whether the latter will work. He predicts that efforts to restrict industrially produced blasting caps will lead to the production of improved versions by insurgents and adapted to their requirements.

    Enke also identifies improvements in hiding IEDs.

    He said information available on the Internet
    Google, Wikileaks and Rapidshare – is resulting in the more rapid spread of technical developments. One allied army improvised munitions handbook has, for example, been found on Rapidshare. And future economic, climatic and religious changes will produce a stream of volunteers, Enke predicts.

    [Editor's note: this post has been reviewed and edited by editorial management. The information posted here is widely available elsewhere on the Internet.]

    Tags: ar99, IED

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