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Explosive Neutralisation and Mitigation Countermeasures for IEDs in Urban/Civil Environment

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Safely dealing with home-made bombs

An EU team is reducing the risks posed by home-made bombs. The tools include four new neutralisation options, and several solutions that mitigate damage in the event of an explosion.

Energy

Home-made bombs are not new, yet now they pose a greater threat. Police forces need more effective ways of countering the threat. The EU-funded 'Explosive neutralisation and mitigation countermeasures for IEDs in urban/civil environment' (ENCOUNTER) project aims to develop the needed methods and technologies. The seven-member consortium plans to develop innovative techniques for mitigating and neutralising improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in urban areas. Project developments will help prevent explosion after discovery, keeping the populace unaware of the danger and thus reducing fear. The project's technologies will also increase stand-off distance, thus reducing risk for personnel should an explosion occur. Lastly, the group considers the ethical and social dimensions of dealing with IEDs, yielding guidelines and decision-making tools. ENCOUNTER runs for three years to August 2015. The first phase involved summarising and tabulating recent IED attacks in order to determine common features and assess vulnerabilities. End users supplied information about actual practices, from which the project researchers identified current problems and set a direction for its investigations. Work identified various attack scenarios according to parameters including location and explosive type. Four different neutralisation techniques were developed and show promise. The team also devised new mitigation solutions and prepared preliminary technical designs. The most interesting scenarios were converted to computer-aided design files for use in simulations. Preparation for testing has begun. Technical solutions were assessed in terms of ethical, social and financial considerations to ensure that responses are proportional and do not create additional problems. The team described the main ethical issues surrounding IED countermeasures, and detailed the required input for future analysis. ENCOUNTER will yield new techniques for mitigation and neutralisation of IEDs in urban spaces. The project will also supply software and other tools to assist with use of the new techniques.

Keywords

Neutralisation, mitigation, civil environment, improvised explosive devices, urban areas

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