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MANCHESTER ONE YEAR ON Can lessons be learned?


CIT Y DESTROYERS Vehicle-borne attacks September 2018




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Andy Oppenheimer assesses Daesh’s deadly legacy.


Tahmiena Naji Editor-in-Chief

Andy Oppenheimer AIExpE MIABTI Deputy Editors

Dr. Salma Abbasi, David Oliver US Correspondent


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Andy Oppenheimer describes a new era of devastating VBIEDs.

Paul Curtis introduces new systems for landmine clearance.


Steven Smith explains why C-IED operators make fatal mistakes.


Andy Cooper rolls out a smartphone app to ID IEDs.

Roland Alford describes EOD in remote areas.


Bomb squads use Teledyne ICM portable X-ray systems in the Middle East.


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www.cbnw.co.uk ISSN 2059-7894. © React Media Publishing 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used, reproduced, stored in an information retrieval system or transmitted in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of React Media. This publication has been prepared wholly upon information supplied by the contributors and while the publishers trust that its contents will be of interest to readers, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The publishers are unable to accept, and hereby expressly disclaim any liability for the consequences of any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in such information whether occurring during the processing of such information for publication or otherwise. No representations, whether within the meaning of the Misrepresentation Act 1967 or otherwise, warranties or endorsements of any information contained herein are given or intended and full verification of all information appearing in the publication of the articles contained herein does not necessarily imply that any opinions therein are necessarily those of the publishers.

Mike Greville looks at lessons learned from the Manchester attack.


CBNW Xplosive is published by React Media Publishing,

50 Summit Way, Southgate, London N14 7NP, UK. Telephone: +44 20 8368 0966 E-mail: tina@chembio.biz

Analysis of the 31 May 2017 VBIED Incident in Kabul.

John Howell assesses screening for chlorates and aluminized explosives. Robert Shaw examines the use of IEDS by state organizations.



Melanie Moughton explains how Felix Fund is helping veterans.



CBNW Xplosive meets John Matta, President of Mystic Software. David Oliver takes to the air for airborne demining.


James Tomlinson looks at handheld detection technologies.

David Oliver talks to Laurent Colson of Teledyne ICM.



Kevin Cresswell presents a short history of asymmetric warfare.

Dr David Crouch promotes integrated communications in CBRN IED incidents.


Prof. Y. Baudoin, Dr. O. Mattmann and Cmd Y Dubucq roll out a new forensics partnership.




Events & Index 2019 EVENTS

2018 EVENTS 9-11 October

5-7 February

NCT Asia Vietnam www.nct-asia.com

NCT South America Rio de Janeiro, Brazil www.nctsouthamerica.com

13-15 November

5-6 March

4th Annual Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability London www.favsurvivability.com/cbrnw

SCTX Olympia, London www.counterterrorexpo.com

4-5 December

CBRNe Summit Birmingham, UK www.intelligence-sec.com

Counter Terror Expo Singapore www.counterterrorasia.com 1-2 November Intelligent Transport Conference QEII Centre, London www.intelligenttransport.com 13-14 November 6th Annual EOD/IED & Countermine Symposium Alexandria, VA, USA www.countermine.dsigroup.org 20-21 November 20th Annual International CBRN Symposium Farnborough, UK www.adsgroup.org.uk/events-list/cbrn-symposium-2018-2/

9-10 April

7-9 May NCT Washington DC www.nct-usa.com 29 May-1 June CBRNe Research Innovation Conference Bron, France www.cbrneconference.fr 25-27 June NCT Europe Vienna, Austria www.nct-europe.com

Advertisers Index Agilent Technologies ..................................... IFC


Alford Technologies Ltd................................. 21

Southern Scientific.........................................41

Bruker Daltonik GmbH....................................09

Teledyne ICM.................................................13

BCTL CO......................................................17

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4th Annual Future Armoured

Felix Fund The Bomb Disposal Charity ..............37 Field Forensics..............................................25


Vehicles Survivability.....................................67 20th International CBRN Symposium Farnborough..............................55

Flir Inc.........................................................BC


Hotzone Solutions Group................................ IBC

NCT Asia Vietnam..........................................51


UK Security Expo...........................................59




THE DEADLY DAESH LEGACY With so many conflict areas riddled with IEDs, the most murderous terrorist group in our time has ploughed new depths in the sheer number of booby-trap devices they planted in areas of Iraq and Syria before they were driven from their self-styled ‘caliphate’. Some three dozen casualties are now inflicted each week from Daesh booby-trapped doors, chairs, even cooking pots. Only once cleared can civilians safely return. And what of new IED threats from Daesh and their followers in countries where their poisonous ideology has spread, beyond Iraq and Syria? In Afghanistan, in the first half of 2018 Action on Armed Violence recorded 605 civilian casualties from IED attacks claimed by ISIS and affiliates - a 345% increase on 136 in 2017. Daesh is said to be communicating from its new foothold in Afghanistan with followers in Europe. As well as continuing with person-borne and vehicle-borne IEDs, fears grow that Daesh and other groups will use drones - unmanned aircraft armed with miniaturized devices to explode on impact on civilian targets. Drones would provide terrorists with a novel airborne capability, including a new means to collect intelligence. The Daesh ‘diaspora’ may learn from the TTP its parent group employed in MENA countries. Information and actual materials may be acquired online, within covert self-starter cells, and sometimes directed by more experienced bomb-makers. In September 2017 the perpetrator of the Parsons Green IED carried a homemade IED in a bucket inside a plastic carrier bag onto a subway train as it entered the station in southwest London. A burst of fire unleashed along the carriage injured 29. Including the jihadist explosive of choice, TATP, the device comprised a basic clock timer, fairy lights as a basic initiator, and broken glass, knives and screws. The materials cost a mere £100 and were reportedly acquired online. In this edition, And beyond violent Jihad, threats are increasing Mike Greville outlines from the far Right. In March, Exeter Crown lessons from the May 2017 Court heard a man with extreme homophoManchester attack while Duncan Young bic and racist views made a 9-kg ammoanalyses a massive VBIED which exploded nium sulphate-diesel oil device, after a in Kabul in the same month; Robert Shaw police raid on his apartment in January describes IED use by special forces, Andy turned up three pipe bombs and 17 Oppenheimer rounds up terrorist use of VBIEDs other improvised devices. Since the and Kevin Cresswell reviews asymmetric warfare; March 2017 Westminster attack, as Paul Curtis describes new systems for landmine well as 12 Jihadist terrorist plots, clearance, Roland Alford introduces a new disruptor, and four by right-wing extremists were David Oliver looks at airborne demining; detection of chlorate-based and aluminized explosives is dealt with by foiled in the UK by police and the John Howell while James Tomlinson reviews handheld intelligence services. And out of detection technologies and Andy Cooper rolls out a 2,000 referred to the government’s smartphone app to ID IEDs; Melanie Moughton explains counter-radicalization Prevent prohow Felix Fund is helping PTSD sufferers and Steven gramme in the same period, one-third Smith examines the stresses on C-IED operators; arose from far-Right concerns. David Crouch integrates communications and we interview leading companies Teledyne ICM and Terrorism arrests doubled from 2014 to Mystic HQ. And as ever, we at CBNW 2017; there were 441 in the first half of 2018 Xplosive extend our thanks to all of - the highest number in a year since data you who risk your lives to help collection began in 2001, and a 17% increase on keep us safe.

2017. Head of Counter-Terrorism Policing in the UK, Neil Basu, in June summed up the challenges: “With the terrorist attacks of 2017 we saw a genuine step-change in momentum. As a result, our operational activity increased to meet the new and emerging threats we now face.” ●




EOD CASE STUDY NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan (2001-2014) brought the term ‘IED’ into the


contemporary current-affairs lexicon. Several years after NATO’s formal departure from the country, however, IEDs remain a pernicious threat.






MAIN: The 31 May Kabul blast as it happened. INSET: Aftermath of the Kabul blast.

©@AdityaRajKaul, Twitter





n 2017, Afghanistan experienced 151 IED attacks throughout the country, perpetrated largely against security forces and foreign nationals. Extrapolating from information gathered by the Triton database, we identified the provenance of the VBIED used in a devastating attack in Kabul’s Green Zone last spring. The vehicle involved in the blast, a large six-wheel septic tanker truck, had reportedly been denied access at a checkpoint to Kabul’s diplomatic ‘Green Zone’ earlier that morning. The checkpoint police turned the driver away, despite having what appeared to be the correct company insignia on the vehicle and reportedly possessing the appropriate (allegedly forged) paperwork, because they did not recognize him. The driver then attempted to gain access to the area via another checkpoint at which he was again stopped by security personnel; it was at this point, at a fork in Wazir Akbar Khan road, that the device functioned. The explosion left a crater 4 m deep and severely damaged the German embassy, as well as other buildings within a one-kilometre radius. Fortunately, at the time of the attack, the German embassy had At 08:25hrs on 31 May 2017 a VBIED detonated, killing over 150 people and injuring more than 400 others at a security checkpoint near the German embassy near to Zambaq Square, in the 10th district of Kabul.


wake of what is believed to be a fabricated statement being released claiming ISKP responsibility. ISKP have not up to this point been able to undertake an attack of this scale, and if indeed they were the perpetrators, it would mark a significant leap in the group’s capability.

@MuslimShirzad, Twitter

…or the Taliban? Examining the available evidence, the 31 May attack incident bears all the hallmarks of a Taliban attack. Not only does the group have the operational and logistical capability but also a history of carrying out attacks of this scale on a regular basis. However, The Taliban denied responsibility and condemned the attack four hours after it occurred. This is a common response time for the group as it has to communicate with its various sub-groups in order to gain a clearer picture of their involvement. The delay may however be tactical, as it allowed for time to gauge public opinion before making a statement. It is also noteworthy that the Taliban denied responsibility for a number of other attacks that caused high numbers of civilian casualties, despite evidence strongly The crater pointing to their involvement.

created by the 31 May blast in Kabul.

Or the Haqqani Network… The NDS have claimed that they have credible intelligence confirming that the attack was carried out by the Haqqani Network - a semi-autonomous network under the umbrella of the Taliban. However, the Taliban specifically denied this claim on the group’s behalf.

already evacuated as, six days prior, intelligence agencies had notified the embassy that an attack was anticipated. An anonymous government source stated that the National Directorate of Security (NDS) “knew about a possible attack targeting the Wazir Akbar Khan area Map of the as far back as 21 May,” and defensive measures had border between Nangarhar and been stepped up in the area. Ghanzi The Green Zone had recently been subject to a Province. VBIED attack. On 3 May 2017, a smaller car-type VBIED functioned against a NATO convoy in close vicinity to the US embassy, while previous attacks had targeted a number of embassies including those of India, Spain and Iran. The fact the truck driver was denied access at his initial point of intended entry and subsequently functioned his device at an alternative checkpoint suggests that that the German embassy was an incidental rather than a specifically intended target of the VBIED. The truck that had the correct insignia and paperwork to exploit a specific security vulnerability suggests the operation itself was well planned and was preceded by detailed reconnaissance into the security measures being used to protect the area. ISKP? In the aftermath of the attack, a number of media outlets initially reported that ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province) had claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the group itself did not confirm or deny responsibility. Activists linked with the ISKP however have objectively denied the group’s involvement in the

©Google Maps, Triton





from Pakistan to Afghanistan have occurred at a number of border crossing points. The prime focus VBIED of AN/CAN-26-related activity has incidents by target. been the Torkham border crossing between Peshawar and Jalalabad. Since 2015, the majority of police interceptions of AN/CAN-26 have been made at this crossing and in the adjoining Nangarhar province, predominantly in the vicinity of the main supply route that links Kabul to Peshawar via Jalalabad. Putting the puzzle pieces together, it is therefore likely that the AN used in the 31 May 2017 truck-type VBIED ©Triton

Despite the Taliban’s denial, the attack bears the hallmarks of similar VBIED strikes carried out by the Haqqani network in Kabul, Helmand, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces, suggesting that the group was responsible for the Kabul attack on 31 May. Furthermore, The Taliban at the start of May 2017 announced the beginning of their spring offensive in which they stated that their main focus would be foreign forces, targeting them with a range of conventional, guerrilla, insider and suicide attacks. ANAL and CAN The explosives used in the 31 May attack in Kabul were ammonium nitrate (AN)-based HME (believed to be ammonium nitrate and aluminium). AN has been the choice base component in Afghanistan due to its low cost, availability and easy preparation. A significant quantity (70%) of HME produced in Afghanistan is derived from calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN-26.) CAN-26 was developed by fertilizer manufacturers to be a non-detonable alternative to pure ammonium nitrate. However, through a simple process it can be reverted back into a detonable substance. In Afghanistan, the production and import of this fertilizer has been banned since January 2010, around the same time that it was also banned in a number of regions of FATA, Pakistan, that border Afghanistan. However, this has not stopped cross-border smuggling of the




VBIED incidents by province.

substance. Fertilizer has also been smuggled into Afghanistan from neighbouring Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and China, though these instances are far less common and significant than the widespread infiltration of the substance from Pakistan. The majority of CAN-26 in Pakistan is made in two factories owned by the Fatima Group. While they have introduced a number of initiatives in order to stem the availability of the substance to IED makers, production itself has never been halted. These factories are believed to produce approximately 400,000 metric tons of AN per year, around 1% of which (4,000 metric tons) is believed to have been smuggled across the border into Afghanistan. Intercepting explosives Interceptions of AN being smuggled

in Kabul was manufactured in the Fatima group factories in Pakistan from where a pattern highlighted by the history of AN/CAN-26-related incidents suggests it would have entered Afghanistan and made its way to Kabul via the Torkham border-crossing. The VBIED could have been manufactured in a range of locations across Nangarhar and Kabul provinces, probably by members of, or individuals linked with, the Haqqani network. A general target would have been selected, the necessary fake documentation obtained, and operatives would have then driven the truck to the Green Zone, intent on destruction. ✺

This article was written by TRITON Analysts. For more information please visit www.tritonintel.com or email info@tritonintel.com

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A major counter-terror training exercise simulated a marauding weapons attack at Aldwych Station in London.

©Euan Cherry 2015




The Manchester Arena Bombing was a crime and a tragedy. Manchester showed its true, cross-community united face MIKE GREVILLE demonstrating care for victims, and praised the emergency LOOKS AT VITAL services responding to a shocking scenario. Its effects are still felt far beyond the boundaries of a city that turned the awfulness LESSONS FROM of the situation into triumph. But, as, members of the civil THE MANCHESTER contingencies and resilience community, we have to look beyond the immediate ‘hot washes’ and reaction, and drill down, ARENA BOMBING forensically, to see what lessons can be learned.



hat is, to identify learning based on experience of the HOT ZONE incident – and add this to retained wisdom and existing standard operating procedures, firmly based on experience gained over many years. This would help all involved deal with any subsequent situations even more effectively. There has been an official inquiry, and there is no doubt that the subsequent report by Lord Kerslake highlights areas for substantial improvement in the handling of such an event. Critically, one of the areas points to the fact that victims of the bombing, many suffering from catastrophic injuries from bomb blast and shrapnel, had to wait for a considerable period of time before receiving treatment.


Untrained venue staff That is one of the most basic lessons of Manchester. For it becomes clear that members of the public were left to look after themselves, despite the best efforts of the first responders. These were not police, fire or ambulance personnel, but event and venue security staff, who – despite their heroism – were simply not trained or equipped to deal with the horror and chaos facing them. And that was even without the police commander invoking Operation Plato, the protocol which bans all except police specialist firearms officers from entering the scene of a bombing or shooting. It’s their job to neutralize the threat – which could include multiple devices – and declare the area safe, ignoring the needs of casualties up until that point – and then inviting unarmed police, ambulance and fire personnel into the venue to start casualty triage, treatment and evacuation. As Operation Plato was not fully invoked at Manchester, and it can be argued that there were sound operational reasons for not doing so, there was no initial entry by specialist armed police units. However, these units carry and are trained to use specialist first aid equipment such as tourniquets, vital to staunch bleeding



• Survival grab bags of equipment to lock down safe areas • Tools allowing escape through glass doors and windows • Specialist medical kit: tourniquets, trauma dressings to stop bomb blast victims bleeding to death before professional medical aid arrives

from severed limbs and trauma dressings to plug blasted chests, after the threat has been neutralized. Instead, what did happen is that the security, venue staff and the public were faced with a chaotic sight of maimed bodies, body parts, and crowd panic in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Fighting a losing battle They were shocked. They had no idea what had happened. They were unsure if there might be further explosions, and, most of all, any training that they had received had not fitted them to deal with an event of this impact or on this scale. But, what they did do was their best. They ran to find where elementary first aid kits were kept, and tried to save lives until the emergency services arrived, although they were fighting a losing battle as there had been no effective and rehearsed training to even contemplate such a situation, never mind to actually deal with it. What I believe we have learned from Manchester is that the initial point of contact staff, at venues across the country, need to be trained in effective techniques to allow them to deal with such a situation. RunHideSurvive That means training them to survive, as far as possible, a blast or shooting by knowing in advance where to hide, run to, and shelter themselves and possible casualties, as well as knowing where quick and effective evacuation routes exist. That’s the basis of our own, RunHideSurvive philosophy. It also means carrying out staff and security contractor exercises to ensure that not only are these procedures understood, but they are





drilled regularly and that lessons are learned from those drills, and constantly improved. And, of course, staff and contractors need to be trained in the use of such specialist first-aid kits so that as with all personnel, faced with a harrowing scene of devastation, training kicks in – and wellrehearsed routine replaces potential panic. Above all, lives are saved. Given more terror attacks in the UK are likely – including an increased threat from right-wing extremism – it is more vital than ever for this basic learning to be applied as soon as possible.

Traveller Grab bag alongside a backpack shows its compact size.



too – the obvious core aim of every member of the civil contingencies and resilience community. As further bomb blasts are sadly inevitable despite the best efforts of the security forces and intelligence services, it is doubly important that we prepare properly and thoroughly to deal with the consequences – not only to save lives and lessen the impact of injuries, but also to thwart the terrorists by reducing what they

An Emergency Grab bag carried over the shoulder is recommended in crowded places.

Front view of the SOLO Emergency Grab Bag


measure as the ‘effectiveness’ of their attacks. So, we need to heed one of the principal lessons of Manchester: that those in the ‘hot zone’ are in the ‘hot seat’ as first responders. Effective training, drilling and standard operating procedures are as vital for them as for members of the emergency services. Front-line staff and the public deserve no less when lives are on the line. ✺

Mike Greville is Director of SALVAS, a leading workplace violence reduction company and the creators of the RunHideSurvive programme that trains and equips key front-line staff in practical actions to save lives in the event of a terror attack, and was commended in the Finals of the 2018 UK Counter Terror Awards www.runhidesurvive.com


Survival in the hot zone Manchester showed that members of the public will have to wait for venues to be made safe before professional help arrives, so that it will be down to staff in the ‘hot zone’ to take the first action to help save them. Those first few minutes are crucial for lives being saved thanks to effectively trained emergency intervention. Such action makes it easier for the arriving emergency services to take over, finding casualties who have already had emergency first aid – rather find a sea of confusion which, through no fault of the first responders at Manchester, did cost lives. RunHideSurvive training also boosts the personal safety of security personnel and venue staff by improving their own survival chances. If they survive, more members of the public will survive




©Wikipedia/Jim Gordon

Massive road crater resulting from one of hundreds of massive car bombings launched during the Iraqi insurgency.




©Wikipedia/Staff Sgt Preston Chasteen



ust to pick one recent atrocity, on 28 October 2017 two al-Shabaab car bombs were detonated in quick succession (multiple attacks are a hallmark M.O.) in the Somalian capital Mogadishu, killing 350 with a total of 500 casualties. A 12-hour siege in a hotel ensued; VBIEDs are often deployed with other forms of attack. Other groups – the PKK in Turkey and Irish dissident republican groups still operating in Northern Ireland – have used the terrorist’s most deadly weapon, as have individuals: the biggest attack on US soil outside of 9/11 remains the massive 3,200kg AN VBIED detonated by a right-wing extremist, Timothy McVeigh, on 19 April 1995. In a country not hitherto scarred with terrorism, Norway experienced massacre by Anders Breivik’s VBIED in central Oslo, killing eight, followed by a mass shooting on an island. In the oft-forgotten Lebanese civil war, an estimated 3,641 car bombs were detonated.



Daesh car bomb is wrapped in thick armour so bullets won’t kill the driver before he blows himself, and his victims, up.


Explosives and triggers VBIEDs act as their own delivery Right-wing mechanisms and can carry a extremist Timothy McVeigh’s VBIED which large amount of explosives, killed 168 people and the only limiting factor being destroyed 324 buildings in the vehicle’s size. Bulk Oklahoma City on 19 April 1995 consisted of 2,300 kg magnetically explosive in an IED AN mixed with 540 kg of to the car’s transported then detonated in liquid nitromethane and underside, a car or truck may be >1,000kg, 160 kg of Tovex. beneath the often fashioned from fertiliserpassenger/driver seat, based ammonium nitrate, and may inside of the mudguard, or detonators include a reliable, stable booster may be triggered by opening the such as Semtex. Artillery shells or anti-tank mines are often the payload vehicle door or by pressure applied to the brakes or accelerator. in Middle Eastern VBIEDs. As well The under-vehicle booby trap as the deadly air blast, truck bombs tilt fuse, used repeatedly by the produce vast ground waves. Provisional IRA, is a small tube of Incendiary enhancements such as glass or plastic with one end filled gas canisters create vast fires. with mercury with the other open end Remote detonation is triggered by wired with the ends of an open circuit hand in hundreds of jihadist suicide to an electrical firing system. When bombings (SVBIEDs) or by remote the tube is moved the mercury flows detonation. The IED may be fixed



©USAF/Snr Airman Kenny Kennemer

Two vehicles are destroyed by FBI officials in a 550-lb AN explosion staged for a post-investigation training exercise.

Vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are used in almost every terrorist and insurgency theatre – from British-controlled Palestine in the 1940s to over 30 years of the IRA and Al Qaeda. The most dangerous jihadist group in recent times – Daesh – has since taken the VBIED to new extremes



Aftermath of the July 2016 Baghdad bombings, in which 323 were killed, with over 100 killed in the Karrada Shia area by the detonation of a refrigerator van packed with explosives.

to the top of the tube and closes the circuit. As the car dips and bumps the circuit is closed and the bomb detonates.

From the IRA… VBIEDs came of age as massive ‘City Destroyers’ deployed by the Provisional IRA. PIRA was the prime terrorist group that pioneered most of the explosive combinations (ammonium nitrate – AN, booster explosives – Semtex) – and initiators for VBIEDs (radio control, radar, light, lasers) during its 30-year-long bombing campaign. Multiple timers ensured precision of the moment and position of detonation. Booby-trap devices include trip wires, pressure plates, mercury tilt switches for underneath cars – anything hidden that when disturbed set off the initiation sequence. Described as "the most successful military tactic since the start of the Troubles," VBIEDs were the vital part

of the PIRA campaign that …to ISIS: waged war on Britain’s Daesh in the Middle East has taken financial centres in order to the VBIED to new levels of mass extract British concessions civilian slaughter. In 2016 it claimed during the 1990s peace a staggering 815 SVBIEDs, the most negotiations. While PIRA killed ever used in one year by a terrorist many civilians, had any of its ‘city group. On 3 July 2016, among destroyers’ been used by al-Qaeda or multiple bombings in Iraq with 323 similar – whose brief is to exact killed, Daesh claimed responsibility maximum casualties – they would for the deadliest VBIED attack in have been deployed at the height Baghdad since the 2003 war: 150 of street and buildings were killed in the Karrada Shia This occupancy with death tolls area by the detonation of a captured VBIED arguably running into the refrigerator van packed has been used to train Kurdish thousands. with explosives. The blast Peshmerga forces at engulfed the shopping mall a coalition training and surrounding cafes. site in northern Iraq. Chemicals in the bomb were said to evade detection at a checkpoint.


Aiming at troops Before Daesh, Iraqi insurgents undermined troop morale and security targets by using unmodified civilian cars and trucks as ‘covert’ parked VBIEDs and SVBIEDs. The classic tactic is to






crash a vehicle, often through a compound wall combined with armed assault, into US and Iraqi convoys. AN and diesel oil – ANFO – is widely available in agricultural areas, as were car repair shops doubling up as VBIED bomb factories churning out dozens of VBIEDs. Daesh has extended the SVBIED scenario for mass murder of civilians – especially in Baghdad in 2016 and 2017 – to deployment of adapted military vehicles, purloining vast numbers of vehicles and munitions in seized areas and pitting them against Iraqi forces.

tactic to destroy and demoralize advancing Iraqi troops. Up-armoured bulldozers were also deployed ahead of VBIEDs to demolish concrete blast barriers. Sloped frontal armour may have an added layer of slat armour with the wheels likewise armoured against incoming rounds. The driver, who can’t be shot before he detonates, is a suicide bomber at the wheel of a guided land missile.


London Bishopsgate, 24th April 1993: • 1,200kg AN + Semtex + US Ireco commercial detonator • Primed by switching on hazard warning lights of vehicle – left overnight • 1 died, 40 injured; £400 million worth of damage • Damaged buildings 500m away + 140,000m² office space • Disrupted water mains and supply

Protecting against VBIEDs Protecting buildings – most notably, high-level premises – includes maintenance and upgrade of perimeter security systems with Up-armoured VBIEDs active and passive vehicle barriers Insurgents, then Daesh, welded steel along with anti-climb, anti-vehicular, plates to the front of SVBIEDs as and pedestrian fencing with improvised armour to protect from intrusion detection sensors built incoming fire up until they were into the perimeter zone. Traffic detonated. Having captured control at exit and entry thousands of military The IRA VBIED points includes inspection vehicles in the 2014 exploded at Canary of vehicles entering car offensive, with the Wharf in London Docklands parks, especially those front and sides of on 9 February 1996 was hidden in the back of an Iveco located underground BMP-1s fitted with Ford Cargo flatbed truck (below (the 1993 al-Qaeda improvised armour right), which had been specially bombing of the WTC of metal piping modified to carry the payload. ©Wikimedia

Manchester, 15th June 1996: • 1,600kg AN • One-hour warning to media • Army ATOs approached the vehicle with UGV • VBIED exploded 40 minutes after police had begun clearing the centre • 206 injured; >£400 million damage • Many injured were outside the cordon

The explosion caused an estimated £100 million worth of damage.




was in the underground car park). However, such measures cannot be applied in many built-up conflict zones or across the board in a city, although concrete blocks or bollards and metal barriers have been installed in This table various locations. shows the Blocking roads has explosives-carrying tended to deflect capacity and lethal blast range for civilian bombings to soft exploded by the Taliban in Kabul vehicles once targets such as (see pp 6-9), killed more than 150 converted into markets. On 31 May and severely damaged several VBIEDs. 2017 the tanker truck embassies despite blast protection. ✺ ©US ATF

Daesh deployed up-armoured VBIEDs as the norm to control its territory by attacking static targets. The up-armoured VBIED – often a 4x4 truck – hence became a classic example of asymmetric warfare, where an improvising smaller enemy attacks larger, well-equipped forces, which are less able due to the vehicle being armoured to prematurely detonate it. As well as carrying a bigger explosive payload, large trucks could be more heavily armoured. Once in retreat, Daesh used the

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THE MIDAS TOUCH Cobham Antenna Systems working with the European Space Agency (ESA) is running a project within the Integrated Application Program (IAP) under the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme called MIDAS (Mine and IED Detection Augmented by Satellite).

The Outdoor Training System does not use immersive VR but instead uses virtual targets to train the student in a representative environment. All photos ŠCobham


his demonstration project aims to develop a number of product lines that utilise space-based assets, including Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Earth Observation (EO) imagery to improve minefield operations. It aims to digitise demining in a way that improves efficiency and provides unparalleled access to demining information. The product lines developed by MIDAS under the IAP include a minefield Clearance Management Tool (CMT),



detector tracking hardware, virtual training systems and a UAS (unmanned aerial system)-based mine detection system. This article describes each of the products and the value for the customer and makes recommendations on how these products can be combined into a system for minefield clearance. The MIDAS System The MIDAS system brings together a number of


technologies to enhance the efficiency of minefield operations. These technologies provide improved efficiency through several stages of workflow. Improved training is provided by virtual training systems – for which no real threats need to be buried and to which new mines and scenarios can be added. Maps are made as the minefield search progresses using tracking and mapping technologies and electronic reporting in IMSMA (Information Management System for Mine Action) format will be made available. In addition, a degree of the quality assurance (QA) required in this type of operation is conducted live, as part of running the operation with this technology – for example, tracking of the area covered by detection systems. Clearance Management Tool At the heart of MIDAS is a software tool that captures the physical nature of the minefield on a map using common systems such as Bing maps, which are augmented with EO imagery. The CMT captures the shape and boundaries of this minefield and by using the detector tracking hardware, shows the live location of each mine detector in the operation. The tracking hardware can be used on robotic, vehicular or drone-based sensing systems described below. The CMT can also capture key mine field operation data such as stock levels, key personnel data, and emergency response details. The CMT can generate

The Clearance Management Tool can generate progress reports at the touch of a button.

progress reports at the touch of a button. Detector tracking A key enabling technology for MIDAS is the ability to precisely track the location of mine detectors within the minefield operation. This ability is provided for by the detector tracking box. This tracker utilizes RTK GNSS, which also requires the use of a RTK GNSS Reference station. This hardware allows location data to be accurate to within 3 cm and, as a result, the CMT can accurately report the location and track that each detector has followed. This enables a number of value-added features – such as the ability to show a live track and historical sweep coverage data, and the minefield manager can conduct a degree of QA during the operation. In addition to tracking, the detector tracking box provides the ability for the de-miner to mark the location of a threat on the map in real time, depending on whether the threat is confirmed to be a mine or false alarm. The system provides a workflow to convert all recorded alarms as appropriate. Virtual training Training is a key part of all demining operations and must be provided regularly to ensure that users are up to date, well-practised and fully familiar with the equipment used to search for mines. Cobham have developed two training systems which use a common software core: one is a training system for indoor use, and a second, for outdoor use. Neither system requires the burial of mines or the provision of operational equipment. In this way, key value is added by reducing the cost of providing training facilities and eliminates the need for valuable search The Indoor Training System uses a fully immersive VR environment.





The RTK GNSS Reference station allows location data to be accurate to within 3 cm.

equipment to be tied up in training. The Indoor Training System (ITS) uses a fully immersive Virtual Reality (VR) environment, in which the student wears a VR headset and picks up a surrogate mine detector. The instructor can define the position of mines and the nature of the minefield, including weather conditions. They are able to determine the students’ performance in terms of sweep technique, probability of detection, and false-alarm rate. The Outdoor Training System (OTS) does not use immersive VR, but instead uses virtual targets to allow the student to train in a representative environment. A training lane can be established in any outdoor location, as no real targets are required.

wheeled robotic platform is not a desirable option, perhaps when ground conditions prohibit the use of such systems. Future minefield clearance Current minefield clearance operations have been proven to benefit from advanced sensors such as GPR. This is well evidenced by long-term testing of Minehound in countries such as Cambodia, where more than 95% clutter rejection can be achieved – permitting a clearance operation to remove fewer false alarms, and therefore can proceed faster than without GPR. Taking this illustration of how closely related new technology can increase efficiency, it is the view of the authors that further enhancement of minefield clearance by innovative new technology will yield a higher rate of land release for a fixed clearance budget. Through electronic mapping and reporting, through more timely and cost-effective training, and by automation of search where there is value to do so, we can achieve a quicker return of land to restore vital local needs including farming and industry – and to help mine-affected countries develop stability and prosperity. Digitization of the demining process with new technologies such as those being developed in MIDAS will lead to a myriad benefits and make demining operations safer, more efficient, cheaper, A timeline and workflow view auditable, and more autonomous. ✺ of the MIDAS system.


While current clearance operations are conducted using handheld detectors, humanitarian and commercial mine clearance operators are constantly looking for novel and innovative ways to search for mines and IEDs. Cobham are developing Amulet, which uses a small UAS to deploy a GPR (ground penetrating radar) sensor. The system makes a map of the minefield as it operates, reporting in real time. Amulet UAS is also able to search ground much faster than handheld systems and so is ideal for area reduction. This system brings a number of benefits above and beyond handheld search, including the ability to deploy remotely from the demining professional. This removes the human from harm’s way, and affords the ability to search minefields that are inaccessible by road, for example due to flooding or landslide. The UAS is particularly suitable for deploying when a tracked or

Amulet uses a small UAS to deploy a GPR sensor.

Paul Curtis is the Counter IED Product Manager at Cobham, responsible for product strategy, technology and business development. He has a formal embedded systems and RF background, having worked on the development of the Minehound product.




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EOD team deploys Wheelbarrow, Northern Ireland, 1978.


LESSONS FORGOTTEN? IEDs presented the greatest threat to British troops in Afghanistan. Having honed its counter-IED skills over more than three decades in Northern Ireland, in theory, the British Army was well prepared for the task. Indeed, so skilled had its counter-IED operators become that only one fatality had been sustained since 1981. It therefore came as a huge shock when six operators died in Afghanistan over the 32-month period covering September 2008 to April 2011. The indications were that lessons learnt at high cost in Northern Ireland were being forgotten.


ery early on in the Northern Ireland campaign, it had become obvious that the pressures of conducting a bomb disposal tour seemed to breed a degree of over-confidence in some or, certainly, a willingness to take unnecessary risks. In order to determine whether contemporary operators could still be drawn into committing such errors, it was decided to conduct a range of semi-structured interviews.



All interviewees were Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) – the British Army’s term for its counter-IED operators – who had experience of modern ‘high-threat’ theatres (Afghanistan and Iraq). Those interviewed were assured that they would remain anonymous, and each is referred to simply by an identifying letter. The results were alarming. The interviews revealed that virtually all operators, in all theatres, in all

periods, experienced unsafe acts at first hand. Some of the key findings are detailed below. Operational Tempo The tempo of operations, and the speed with which operators had to work, was a frequent observation. At times, this was necessary to ensure that troops in vulnerable cordon positions were exposed for as little time as possible. On other occasions, the time pressure was due to the

COUNTER-IED An ATO prepares for ‘the long walk.’


An ATO renders safe an IRA culvert bomb in Northern Ireland, 1984.

Patrol conducts search for IEDs around Kandahar Airfield



Operator A:: “When I first arrived in Afghanistan, the operator I took over from explained how everything on the ground was different from what we had learnt at the School. Once in Theatre, we had to cut corners. To me, it looked like some people were going too far.” Operator B:: “Time pressure on the ground meant that we wouldn’t have been able to clear devices at all if we didn’t cut corners. There were times when operators maybe felt pressured to get on with more than they were capable of in a single day.” Operator C developed his own way of gaining a temporary respite from such pressure: “I found smoking helped a lot. It would keep the infantry off my back. As soon as that cigar was out, they’d be back in your face. The infantry tried to push me into things I didn’t want to do. Always time related.” Operator D felt that the operational climate dictated the high tempo. “The days of a Battle Group providing a secure cordon are long gone. Regardless of what anyone says, if you’ve only got twelve blokes on the ground, you know you’ve got to hurry up.” Operator E: “ATOs are under increased time pressure to get off the ground before the cordon troops are put at significant risk. The time pressures are always there to get on and do something about it.”

sheer number of devices that had to be cleared. With the clock ticking, ATOs inevitably found themselves skimping on safety measures. Speeding up… An inevitable consequence of increased tempo is that operators will find ways of speeding up their actions, often to the detriment of their own safety. Operator F: “My predecessor told me that, when he’d found the corner of the pressure pad, he’d place the disrupter to cut the electrical circuit and attach a hook and line (for pulling the device from a safe distance) at the same time. This meant that he was fumbling around trying to attach a hook to a booby trap that was still live. I asked other operators if they thought this was safe. The response was, ‘No! It’s not safe at all!’” …and sheer exhaustion One consequence of the high tempo of operations is sheer exhaustion, which inevitably breeds mistakes.





COUNTER-IED Patrol halts – suspected IED ahead.


difficult to say no. You don’t want to be the first weak link in that chain.” Operator C agreed, observing that ATOs would take “whatever risks were necessary to get the job done.” The tip of the iceberg? This article provides only a snapshot of the problem, with the examples quoted representing just the tip of the iceberg. The evidence suggests that many operators frequently


COMPLACENCY All interviewees cited complacency as a major cause of casualties.

British EOD officer


Searching for IEDs

Operator D: “I think there’s a bit of complacency that kicks in towards the end. You become complacent. Not invincible perhaps, but you do tend to sit back on your laurels. Three operators were killed in Afghanistan at about the five-month point – at around their fiftieth IED.” Operator G: “Possibly as a trade we’d gone so long without a casualty that there was a belief that we could cut corners and get away with it. That attitude probably endured to the end of Iraq and into Afghanistan.” As the commander of a counter-IED unit, H could see complacency kicking in. Operator H: “People just get comfortable with what they’re doing and stop thinking. They start setting patterns. It may only be once, but how many others have done it ‘only once’?”

Operator C further recalled how, when extracting certain components from an IED, he failed to X-ray them, as standing operating procedures demanded, to ensure that they didn’t contain booby traps. “Thinking back, I didn’t X-ray them all, but by that stage, I was shattered. Although it was SOP, by that time I’d been on task for five hours, of which four hours were spent in the bomb-suit.”

The Myth of the ATO Operator J identified another factor pushing ATOs into taking greater risks: the ‘myth of the ATO.’ He observed that every ATO knew the stories surrounding his or her predecessors: who had been killed, and why; who had won gallantry medals, and where. “Of course, the upshot of this is that, when approaching the same scenario, it’s

violate the rules, but get away with it. Of course, when high stakes are consistently played against high odds, without consequences, the conditions are set for an air of complacency to thrive. For the individual operator, this may be the start of a downward spiral that leads to his or her death – and a rise in operator deaths may be an indication that lessons learnt at high cost are being lost. ✺

Steve Smith MBE served as the British Army’s Principal Ammunition Technical Officer and commanded the Defence Explosives, Munitions and Search School. Earlier in his career, he was a high-threat counter-IED operator in Northern Ireland. Having left the Army, he is now involved in international humanitarian work.



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In today's ever-expanding extremist activity and international terrorism the bomb or Improvised Explosive Device (IED) are now almost daily terms used in many media reports. However, the general media use of descriptive terms like ‘pipe bomb’ or ‘rock bomb’ – which initially serves their headlines – does not often provide a suitable description or information for people looking beyond the news headlines.

UK- based training: the ATOM app now has over 8,000 users globally.

All photos ©ATOM Training





hile general IED awareness is increasing due to such incidents as the Manchester Arena suicide bombing in May 2017, the general public these days may not be fully aware of the threat of IEDs. With the expansion of humanitarian organizations entering fragile and post-conflict regions such as Iraq and Syria many more people are now exposed to the dangers of the IED and other explosive risks. Defining the devices The UK security industry recognises the need for a broader awareness of terrorist acts and bombings and is looking for a more technical description and supporting information on what you should do rather than the general media headlines we, unfortunately, see on almost a daily basis. For ATOM Training, while teaching in areas such as East Africa and for nations operating in or around Somalia, correcting the general public description of a ‘bomb’ to an ‘IED’ and explaining the threat IEDs pose often takes considerable time. ATOM have therefore looked to an easy-to-access, easy-to-use, modern platform to provide a training tool when it comes to understanding and describing IEDs and their associated threats.


ATOM Training is a specialist UK-based Counter IED and Explosive Ordnance Disposal company conducting training and consultancy support through its full-time subject matter experts (SMEs). ATOM’s staff all come from a UK military Counter IED and Explosive Ordnance Disposal background and have skill sets that are borne out of not just highly specialized military service but also many years of commercial Counter IED and EOD work. Identifying IEDs – on your phone With the wide use and ownership of smartphones in many regions, the mobile phone seems the ideal platform The IED App data is shown clearly on screen.

The data includes attacks by country.

It also shows an incident live news feed.

to provide individuals with bettertermed awareness and understanding of the terrorist use of IEDs. In response to this need, ATOM have developed the ATOM IED Awareness smartphone application. It is available on both Apple and Android smartphone platforms and can be downloaded free of charge from their respective online stores. ATOM’s students, as well as the general public, are now able to get a better understanding of IEDs, their make-up, their use and the terrorist groups who are using them. Database and terrorist groups The training is then supported by a database containing information on actual IEDs, IED incidents and terrorist groups that use IEDs. All information is open source and available via a quick Google search. By collating that information and placing into an easily accessible app tool, individuals are better informed and aware of the global IED threat and what they could do in the event of being involved in an IED incident. The terrorist group area allows the user to see which terrorist groups are operating within a country and what IEDs they are might use. As the app is supported by a web-based database, it has daily updates that are instant. Over time, ATOM is looking to add data that then allows the general public access to this openly available information. There is, of course, the issue and





concern over the collating of this information in one place: that is, rather than providing an awareness tool for the general public, ATOM are proving a tool for extremist or terrorists. The response is clear: the app is a response to terrorist or extremists already producing and using IEDs. Extremist groups have documented bomb-making manuals available online. The information is already widely available to the individual wanting to use it for illegal or extremist use. By not providing suitable awareness information and understanding we become ignorant to the threat and, subsequently, allow a greater potential for deaths and injuries from IEDs. Integral training tool Since the app was recently upgraded it has seen an additional 2,000 downloads in the past two months and now has over 8,000 users globally. ATOM now sees the smartphone platform an integral tool to be used within the modern training environment. Prior to attending actual classroom-based lessons, students can conduct training and have a datum level of understanding when they first enter the classroom environment. During training and especially during field exercises students can access general data that can influence their field-deployed exercise planning. Post-training ATOM can be confident with inevitable long-term skill fade the smartphone app allows students to quickly glance and recall some general information. ATOM is involved with UNMAS training in Libya.

Adding information External to the training environment the IED Awareness app allows users to add information from an ongoing incident. So, if an incident occurs in front of you, the location and details can be passed instantly between users allowing people to avoid the area – or be aware of the potential threat that is developing. For example, it could identify that the incident may have likely secondary devices. Continued user contributions, updated news feeds and IED incidents



ATOM is also training in Kenya.

1-2-3 From within the application, the training area has three lessons: 1 How IEDs function 2 How to avoid IEDs 3 How to respond to an IED. should see this app becoming a tool for both professionals and the general public when it comes to better understanding what IEDs are and their use. Landmine awareness Further developments considered by ATOM might be to provide the app in various languages such as in Arabic. In addition, the training content supported by a technical database provides a template for future training apps. ATOM will soon be releasing the upgraded Landmine Awareness application, which will see a wider humanitarian support to communities displaced or affected by landmines and explosives remnants of war.✺ Having worked in the C-IED training environment for over 30 years Andy Cooper has managed and directed training delivered to over 4,000 students worldwide – IEDD/EOD, Weapons Technical Intelligence Training, C4I and other intelligence-based C-IED training packages. A former British Army Bomb Technician, he moved into commercial C-IED work in 2000 and has run C-IED training and services at HMS Ltd and today is Managing Director of ATOM Training.

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IED completely disrupted: phone cut in half by high-speed water.

The world of EOD is currently going through one of its cyclical changes that occur whenever we move from a period of military engagement to post conflict. The defeat of ISIS has seen the final withdrawal of all but a few pockets of military advisors. This time the transition is slightly different from those that have gone before – as many of the IED threats that have been faced remain, but the task of dealing with them is being given to commercial companies. All photos ©Alford Technologies




Here the battery is broken up.

The Draken is lined up against a motorbike battery.


EDs have been renamed as Improvised Landmines (ILMs) and even more recently the term Abandoned Explosive Ordnance (AXO) has appeared in some sectors. The job of disposing of them has gone from a military-only affair to one being dealt with by organizations and companies that once specialized in landmine clearance, a somewhat controversial development that has led to inevitable questions about when an IED becomes an Improvised Landmine and what training an operator should have before attempting any action against them. One harsh truth is that there are far more devices to be dealt with than high-threat operators to deal with them – so the industry has had to evolve and innovate, as the problem will not go away by itself.

Restricting operator equipment One interesting consequence of this change is that the new operators, who are civilians, do not come with the same protections and benefits they had as serving militaries. Perhaps surprisingly for some, working on a UN contract does not free them from new national restrictions placed on those operating in country. The decision by the Iraqi government to ban all non-Iraqi military from possessing explosives caused obvious problems for companies like my own – which specializes in making IED disruptors that, for the most part, use high explosives as a means of safely destroying IEDs (ILMs). It also denied operators, in one

Mixing PLX explosive is quick, simple and clean.

Prototype Vulcaplex used against a small IED.

simple move, access to some of the main tools they need to dispose of these devices safely. The reasons for such a ban are clear and it is easy to see why a government would want to restrict access to explosives but this has not helped those working to clear these areas of devices. Tragically, it is probably safe to say that this has directly led to the deaths of several operators who were forced to work without the most appropriate tools for the job. For Alford Technologies this situation was both an impediment to sales of much-needed equipment – but also an opportunity to develop new tools that avoid the problem. We had been working on some ideas in the background for a number of years, but there had not really been a clear need for them until the new situation meant their time had come.



The first of these is the Draken Disruptor – which is essentially a self-loaded barrelled disruptor. For several decades, the mainstay tool for the IED Operator has been the Pigstick or equivalent. This is essentially a steel barrelled gun which fires a powerful cartridge that shoots a barrel full of water at an IED – something like a high-powered version of the foam water guns used at the pool. Such is the speed and force of the water when it hits the target that it is capable of breaking apart many types of device before they have time to function; the device is neutralized and rendered safe. Exporting the ammunition In the current theatres of operation the Pigstick would be a highly useful piece of kit, were it not for the expense and difficulty of obtaining the specialist ammunition that it requires. Exporting that ammunition and getting it through customs is often a challenge too difficult to




EOD Tested against known targets, Draken performed as well as the Pigstick.

achieve and hand carrying ammunition is not an option. There have been many reported instances of operators arriving in theatre, collecting their Pigsticks and finding that they do not have any ammunition. Often, the ammunition has still not arrived by the time they come to leave and go home and the disruptors, still unused, sit idly by. The Draken was designed to overcome these issues. Made from the same grade of stainless steel and having very similar performance to the original PigStick, it differs in a few ways, but most importantly, it is designed to be used with self-loaded ammunition. In fact, the cartridges are re-loaded standard 12-gauge shotgun shells with an electrically initiated squib obtained on ebay and a suitable amount of double-based shotgun propellant. Everything needed can either be ordered directly over the Internet or bought locally from a gun shop (guns are still widely available in these countries). Independent operation The concept is that once you have a Draken Disruptor, you can operate independently pretty much anywhere in the world. In the box there are enough supplies (minus the propellant) to do several hundred firings after which you can order more supplies from us (rubber

bungs) or improvise and continue to source materials locally. As such the through-life cost of the Draken is a fraction of the cost of traditional disruptors and their ammunition. The disruptor was not designed to be particularly lightweight or ‘tactical’ but some of the clever design features that are not readily visible to the user actually mean that the Draken has relatively little recoil – and even if you forget to clip on the bungee cord lanyard, it only recoils a few metres rather than the 50 m or so that the Pigstick would go. It is also quick and simple to fill with water and even comes with two barrels – a standard Pigstick-sized barrel and a half-length mini-Pigstick barrel.

Liquid binary explosives Barrelled disruptors are a relatively new departure for Alford Technologies and our main expertise lies in the use of high explosives in our disruptors. Clearly, not having access to explosives should have dealt a fatal blow to any shaped charges used in EOD, but another one of those ideas whose time has come is the use of liquid binary explosives. These explosives are made from two chemicals which by themselves are not explosive, but which when mixed become highly effective explosives. These materials can be safely and legally transported into country and are not explosive until required. Detonators are still required but those can normally be obtained more easily than the main explosives. The main issue with these binary explosives is that they are not as powerful as a typical plastic explosive, so binary explosives have tended to be used in very simple countermine charges. Shaped charges need to be specially designed to achieve the sort of

Roland Alford was perhaps destined to become an explosives engineer. Helping his father ‘on the range’ from the age of eight to look for blown-up fragments of bombs, he went on to study mechanical engineering before spending the next few years as a journalist. He now runs his family company Alford Technologies, which received the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2004 and for Innovation in 2009.



performance needed to be useful. Shaped charges Enter the Vulcaplex shaped charge system. Based on the company's highly effective Vulcan system and, critically, designed to have similar performance, it used a variant of Picatinny Liquid Explosive, commonly known as PLX. The Vulcaplex currently comes in two models, one with exactly the same magnesium projectile used in the Vulcan for low-ordering conventional munitions and the second is a highly powerful water projectile with far greater penetration than the Draken. This is suitable for piercing steelcased devices and destroying internal components. Over time, the range of PLX driven charges will be added to giving PLX-driven versions of other Alford tools – such as the Bottler and MiniMod. ✺ Draken is used to open a car boot.

A car boot is opened.


ONE ONESTEP STEP AHEAD AHEAD Potassium chlorate (KClO3) crystals

Inorganic explosives are being used more often by terrorists worldwide. What makes this concerning is that chlorate-based and aluminized homemade explosives (HME) do not respond in checkpoint screening systems like the more common organic explosives do.


terrorists are doing nothing new. The fact that more incidents are being AND ALUMINIZED documented where a EXPLOSIVES chlorate-based explosive was used has recently WITH CURRENT created more focus to the SCREENING detection of chlorates. If you search potassium chlorate or TECHNOLOGIES potassium perchlorate on the Internet you will find many open-source information sites on these chemicals. The chlorate family of chemicals nsurgents in Afghanistan are is widely used in the fireworks now using more inorganic industry and has been used for many explosives then organic years. The IRA used potassium explosives. We are also seeing chlorate as far back as the 1920s. in Iraq and Syria a heavy use of The question we need to ask is ammonium/urea nitrate mixed how well can our current detection with an aluminium paste. technologies detect these inorganic Inorganic explosives have been explosives? There are many openaround for a very long time so the






source references on the detection of inorganic explosives as they prove to be a challenge for most detection systems. In X-ray systems they look very different then the more common organic explosives that screeners have all been trained to look for. Green is for chlorate The biggest difference is the fact that chlorates are one of the few explosive types that turns green on an X-ray versus what we see with organic explosives – which all turn orange. The reason they turn green is because they have a much higher average effective atomic number or Z eff (Z effective) vs organic explosives. X-rays determine the colour of a material based on a scale

DETECTION AL paste examples

©Conflict Armament Research

that is used by all X-ray vendors and has from an investigation conducted in Iraq by been around for a very long time. The Conflict Armament pictured chart of Zeff ranges details the Research are pictured in scale used by all X-ray systems for its report on Daesh weapons. determining the colour a material will turn in X-ray, based on its average effective number (Z eff). Most explosives used today are classified as organic and turn orange on an X-ray system. However, when you X-ray chlorates you will find that they are one of the few explosives that turn green – not something most security screeners are trained to look for. Emulsion as HME There are also many commercial explosive products on the market today that use an aluminium powder in the mixture, and they are known as emulsions. Emulsion explosives have become one of the most popular and widely used commercial explosives on the market today. The percentage of aluminium powder used in commercial emulsion explosives is very low (typically well below 10%) – meaning they will turn a dark orange on an X-ray. The problem is that terrorists understand that by adding an aluminium powder (or paste) to an ammonium or urea nitrate they can make a very powerful HME. The terrorists are typically using a

much higher percentage of aluminium powder/paste in their mixtures and that pushes the mixture into the higher Zeff – making it turn green on an X-ray. In Iraq we were seeing them use an aluminium paste (versus a powder) to make their HMEs.

Making X-ray work The other major issue with chlorate and aluminized explosives (commercial or HME) is the auto-detection software on an X-ray system being set to identify (auto-detect) a chlorate-based HME. Both chlorate and aluminized HMEs have a much higher Zeff range then organic explosives and an X-ray systems detection software must be programmed to detect these high Zeff materials. NORMAL This is not hard to accomplish and is a very LAPTOP simple fix by the X-ray manufacturers. What is nice about adding the High Zeff HMEs to an X-ray system is they do not fall into the same detection windows where we find most of the false-alarm-causing items where most organic explosives are detected.

©DSA Detection

Training the operators Security checkpoints where secondary screening is not started unless an X-ray system ‘alarms’, and do not have a system set up to detect a chlorate or aluminized HME, would potentially miss this This image of an IED with ‘poor man’s C-4’ type of threat if the operator fails to detect taken at the DSA lab is the IED’s firing circuit components. X-ray part of the DSA Detection operators are typically taught that explosives enhanced Threat Image Projection (TIP) library used to train operators to detect chlorate-based explosives.






ETD systems have been used in turn the colour orange – but This conjunction with X-ray as part of a with these HMEs they will example of a comprehensive screening process for typically always turn DSA enhanced years. The ETDs being used today have green. The fix is a sample trap allows the detection of the ability to detect very small trace combination of X-ray chlorate-based amounts of explosive residue contained operator training and explosives. in a fingerprint. They provide a detection system software updates capability unlike any other explosive that will enhance chlorate and detection systems on the market and also aluminized HME detection. ©DSA Detection provide very good deterrence. However, The fact that these chemical just like any screening technology they have mixtures turn green vs the more their limitations which must be accounted for common orange result for explosives when deploying an ETD unit. means we must ensure our X-ray operators are trained to detect a chlorate-based threat – and also understand how this will respond in a X-ray system (or Enhanced sample trap not). One of the most popular and well-known terrorist The problem with chlorates being detected in an ETD is mixtures for chlorates is called ‘poor man’s C-4’ and has that they do not desorb (turn to a vapour) when sampled been around for years. by the units. This inability to desorb makes them seem If a chlorate-based HME is used in something like a undetectable by current ETD units. That issue appears to laptop it blends in with all of the surrounding materials have been solved with sample traps specifically designed far better than an organic-based explosive. X-ray to detect chlorates being developed, and these have operators are typically trained to look for any shown in testing that they work. Zeff ranges organic mass inside electronic items because it MIT and DSA Detection are working on the for X-ray colour is not normal to see this on X-ray. This is also development of a new sample trap for ETD chart shows the reason why they make you remove your units. This will be called an ‘enhanced’ sample green for ‘non-organic laptop from your bag – so that they can get a trap and will provide not only an improved aluminium’.

©DSA Detection









Mainly Organic Elements of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Hydro Carbons Explosives, Cloth, Food, Wood and Paper

Mainly non Organic Aluminum, light metals and Organic material over atomic number 10 Electronic gadgets

Steel and dense metals Gun, Blade of knife Tools and Gold

Items that cannot be penetrated by X-rays

clear view of the item, and that any of the organic items you have in your bag do not combine with the image. X-ray operators and the detection systems must therefore be trained or adjusted to detect a threat using a chlorate or aluminized HME because its response is so much different from normal organic explosives. Explosives trace detection The other system affected by chlorates (but not the aluminized commercial or HME explosives) is explosive trace detection (ETD). ETD systems using ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) currently cannot detect a chloratebased HME. However, they can detect the aluminized commercial and HMEs because part of their mixture is a chemical they can detect (e.g. AN – ammonium nitrate).

Slide share

This DSA chlorate X-ray shows live potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate on a Smiths Detection X-ray system, taken at the DSA laboratory in North Andover, MA.

capability in sample collection, but also the detection of chlorates. This enhanced trap will allow the extended use of ETD systems currently in the field without the requirement for a new technology to be deployed. History has shown that terrorists will always try and come up with a new way or tool to try to avoid detection. Typically it is after the fact that most agencies try and figure out a new method of detection. This has proven to be a very poor model for detection and deterrence in the field. Being proactive and thinking like a terrorist are the keys to being one step ahead of the bad guys.✺

John Howell is a US Marine and US Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and is currently a Counter-IED Subject Matter Expert on the detection of threats with screening technologies and training.



Felix Fund 225mm x 168mm Whats On Ad May 2018.ai 1 21/05/2018 13:50:18

Did you know that over 2,500 suspect devices, WWII bomb, and terrorist situations are attended each year in the United Kingdom? Little is known about the men and women of the bomb disposal community who are keeping us all safe. Every day bomb disposal and search personnel can be faced with highly pressured situations. This continued exposure to intense stress can have lasting effects, both mentally and physically. Felix Fund is here to help this unique group of men and women.








We help anyone who has conducted or assisted with Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search duties across all three services of the British military as well as SO15 (Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Unit). We help those still serving, veterans and their immediate family members. We can only continue with this work with funding and support from people like you.

Please make a donation to ensure these unsung heroes get the help they need. Donate at www.justgiving.com/felixfund For more information about the charity visit our website www.felixfund.org.uk or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Felix Fund.


Felix Fund, Vauxhall Barracks, Foxhall Road, Didcot, Oxon OX11 7ES email: enquiries@felixfund.org.uk

Tel: 07713 752901

Registered Charity No. 1142494


©Special Forces: In the Shadows, National Army Museum.





Acid ampoules for limpet mines: the ampoule broke when placed inside the mine, corroding a metal fuze wire that detonated the main charge.

Set Europe ablaze As these skill sets and equipment were established by the new unconventional military units they were exported abroad to be used by resistance networks by the Special Operations Executive (SOE).The SOE was to ‘set Europe ablaze’ and its mission wasn’t just to train and run resistance networks and conduct sabotage, but also to gather intelligence which overlapped with the role of the Secret

The improvised explosive device (IED) is now a common feature of warfare and is a weapon of choice used by terrorists and criminals around the globe. But – what about state military and intelligence forces? States also use IEDs – but as the character of conflict changes, will this continue?


EDs are used against infrastructure, vehicles and personnel and are an unconventional method of attacking a target with an effect such as explosive, incendiary or CBRN rather than the effect being achieved by delivery of conventional weapon systems – such as the firing of shells or dropping of aircraft munitions. Technical elements of IEDs are both similar to conventional ordnance in function – a firing and



safety switch on an IED replicates a fuse system of conventional ordnance as it provides safety in transportation and the optimum moment of initiation – and yet are different, in that the entirety or parts of the IED are not state manufactured. The switch and power source are normally purchased from locally available materials – even if the initiator and main charge are statemanufactured ordnance.

©US Army/Sgt. Jarred Woods


Intelligence Service (SIS). The SIS had a turbulent relationship with SOE partly as they saw the new organization as amateurs in the intelligence game, and partly because they had been forced to give their ‘D’ Section (which was focused on Sabotage and Demolitions) to SOE during its formation. They also disliked SOE because whereas SIS preferred a quiet area to be able to gather intelligence in both neutral and occupied countries, the SOE would infiltrate countries occupied by the Axis powers. There they would carry out sabotage and demolitions which would focus the enemy’s attention and those of collaborating security forces on finding the enemy perpetrators. This increased scrutiny would be detrimental to any handling of covert human intelligence sources by SIS. The difference between the SOE and the other unconventional units was that SOE operated covertly in occupied countries in civilian attire with false identities – whereas the others all operated in military uniform. As well as Special Forces, IED manufacture is part of training other forces. Here US Army soldiers train with IED effect simulators.

Post-war sabotage skills The skills of sabotage, demolitions, explosive ambushes and booby trapping were also imparted to Allied organisations including the US Rangers, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Soviet NKVD (forerunner of the Soviet Committee for State Security – the KGB – who trained the Partisans that operated along the Eastern front). At the end of World War II, the OSS became the CIA and SOE was disbanded – with the SIS absorbing several hundred of its trained agents.

Therefore, during the first two decades of the Cold War, the CIA and the SIS had agents that not only handled covert human intelligence sources (CHIS), but were also a paramilitary force capable of training indigenous resistance groups in unconventional warfare – including the use of explosive booby traps. SF units were also created or continued in existence with the same unconventional warfare skill sets, with the role of training resistance groups in addition to direct action tasks and reconnaissance.

©Special Forces: In the Shadows, National Army Museum.

A group of SAS soldiers assigned to Task Force Black in Iraq.

©Elite UK Forces

As the Cold War progressed, SIS separated the skill sets and focused on the CHIS handling – while the CIA and KGB, and all Soviet-controlled Warsaw Pact intelligence services, continued training their intelligence agents in unconventional warfare. Despite the differences in training, one thing they had in common was that the SIS, the CIA and the KGB could all count on the support of their countries’ military SF, whose mission expanded to direct action and reconnaissance – not just in wartime in uniform, but also in a covert manner in peacetime.




STATE IEDS SF in current conflicts This has continued to current conflicts, where members of SF provide both protection to CHIS handlers in high-threat environments and an executive arm for them, which can carry out specialist skills (such as sniping) that are not taught to CHIS handlers. As terrorism and the use of IEDs became more prevalent and some SF and intelligence agencies also focused on counter-terrorism in addition to their traditional role, it became more important for them to understand not only who the terrorists were – but how terrorists construct and use IEDs. This meant training in the manufacture of IED switches and HME during their advanced demolitions training.

©SOE trainees in demolition class, Milton Hall, circa 1944.

National Archives

A US Navy Weapons Intelligence Team transforms a vehicle into a training VBIED during a course in IED construction, fingerprinting, biometrics, foreign weapons, media exploitation and sensitive sight exploitation.

©Capt Keating/Imperial War Museum

SAS patrol in N. Africa during World War II.

©US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua Strang

Training in IEDs The training of SF and intelligence officers in the manufacture and use of IEDs is for several reasons. If operating in a neutral or high-threat country in a covert manner, the force (which could be a mix of SF and intelligence agents or they can operate independently) may not be able to receive supplies of conventional demolition charges and switches (even using the diplomatic baggage system) to commit sabotage, explosive ambush, demolitions and assassination, they must therefore have the skills to obtain materials to build IEDs to carry out their mission. Even if not carrying out attacks



themselves directly, they must be able to teach the construction and use of IEDs to proxy forces – whether resistance groups or allied terrorists – to achieve the mission aim. Another reason would be that by using IEDs for sabotage, assassination, and demolition tasks with material that has been procured in country, it gives the perpetrators some deniability. This is, and will become, increasingly important as state military and intelligence forces operate a hybrid or ‘ambiguous warfare’ policy – where they will seek to achieve military objectives while either having plausible deniability or be able to blame a third party.

Given the increasing capabilities of forensic science and post-blast scene investigators, including weapons intelligence and exploitation teams, it may be thought that any use of an IED will certainly be laid clearly and quickly at the perpetrator’s door. But we must remember that the signature of a particular IED manufacturer can be duplicated. This can at least sow initial confusion; the ambiguous picture only has to last a short period of time until you have achieved the military and political objectives. By then it’s too late for anyone to counter your aims – therefore it is likely that the use of IEDs by state forces will continue for the foreseeable future.✺

Handheld explosives trace detection FidoŽ X3 Designed with transportation security in mind, the Fido family is the lightest and most sensitive range of Handheld Explosives Trace Detectors on the market. F 0-"&0#2#2#!2'-,S0#1.-,"12-20"'2'-,*A &-+#+"#,"*'/3'"#6.*-1'4#2&0#21@ F ,0#"'*7'"#,2'$72&0#2+2#0'*1 7!*11@ F #'%&13,"#0Ò@Ö)%@ F  ÙÒÑ%2#12#"2-1304'4#2&#2-3%&#12#,4'0-,+#,21@

FidoÂŽ X3

F -,%Q*12',%31#00#.*!# *#Ă™&-30 22#07@ F #1.-,"1-,*72-2&#2&0#217-3!0# -32@ F '#*"3.%0" *#.-2#,2'*$-0"#2#!2'-,-$,#52&0#21@ F 172-31#S1'+.*'h#" -G- -',2#0$!#@ F 0-4'"#14*3#Q""#"!. '*'27 2-!,',#"#2#!2'-,#j-021@

FidoŽ X2 Fido X2 is an ultra-lightweight, handheld explosives trace detector (ETD). It features FLIR’s proprietary TrueTrace™ technology to detect a broad range of chemicals used in the manufacture of homemade, commercial, and military explosives with best-in-class sensitivity. F 03#0!#"#2#!2'-,',ðÒÑ1#!-,"1@ F #2#!21 0-"0,%#-$2&0#21@ F 3'!)2&0##Q+',32#1202Q3.@ F .'"!*#0Q"-5,',1#!-,"1@ F ,23'2'4#A%-G,-Q%-*0+1@ F ,Q1!0##,%3'"#"-.#02'-,@ F ,Q"#4'!#4'"#-20',',%@ F *20Q*'%&25#'%&2è×ÙÑ%@ F #31 *#1+.*',%15'.#1@

Southern Scientific Limited Scientific House, The Henfield Business Park Shoreham Road, Henfield, BN5 9SL, UK E-mail: info@southernscientific.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)1273 497600 Fax: +44 (0)1273 497626 Web: www.southernscientific.co.uk

FidoÂŽ X2

Group Company G






Did you know that in 2016 the PTSD rate in veterans and those still serving in the military had risen to 6%, compared to 4.4% within the civilian population?


n the past year alone, the number of diagnosed cases of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the military jumped by 50% – and that is only the reported and diagnosed cases. Within the wider EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and Search community the levels of stress and other mental health issues are particularly high. This is not just following their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the day-today nature of the roles they carry out have a big impact on serving personnel and their family members. All too often many keep quiet and suffer in silence.

Preventative steps The bomb disposal charity Felix Fund is one of many charities and organizations looking at ways in which to help those who are suffering and to try and reduce the number of new cases. In the early years the charity provided normalization breaks for hundreds of individuals from EOD & Search teams on their return from Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. These breaks were designed to identify or reduce the impact of mental stress that a high-pressure tour can bring about and consisted of a week’s therapeutic team-building activities, discussion groups designed




©Felix Fund


With troops no longer deployed in great numbers, today Felix Fund continues to focus on the important issue of mental health among serving military and, in late 2015 we launched a programme providing preventative stress training based on mindfulness techniques. Known as the Dashboard Courses, the aim is to provide individuals with tools and techniques which will enable them to recognise warning signs of stress and other mental health illnesses – and to allow them to develop their ability to relax, clear their minds, and focus on the positive aspects of their life. This then feeds back into a more productive and stressreduced work and home environment.


to draw out and share operational experiences, and more Disarming a importantly, provided the potential CBR opportunity to regroup and device poses special reinforce peer bonds with challenges. colleagues who had travelled the same operational journey. The breaks proved vital in identifying and ultimately reducing the risk of poor mental health among individuals.

©Felix Fund

©Felix Fund

Attending to a marine mine from WWII.

Light-bulb moment The Dashboard course is thus named to remove any stigma which can be attached to personal development or mental health training. We make use of the analogy that if a light comes on the dashboard of your car, you know what to do: check the oil, take it to a garage, etc. However, what if a light comes on in your own mind? Do we really know what to do, how to ask for help, who to ask for help? All too often the answer is no. Felix Fund hopes this course will answer those questions and help individuals before they end up too far down the rabbit hole.

Royal Logistic Corps ATs serve with Para, Commando and Special Forces units. ©RLC




EOD SUPPORT What it delivers Running since early 2016, the Dashboard courses have proved very effective. How many training programmes will get a group of soldiers, sailors or airmen doing yoga, breathing exercises and running around a room playing catch with a fluffy toy?! The key to the whole programme is a totally relaxed environment away from work and home stresses, where individuals can focus on themselves. The two civilian trainers are totally committed to helping this unique group of men and women and we are

practitioners or other charity programmes from, for example, Combat Stress or Help 4 Heroes where necessary. Aimed at all ranks, ages and regardless of where they are in their military career, it has helped to break down barriers, formed tighter working relationships and enabled a large number of people to realise what effects their personal lives and work environment can have on their own mental health – without them necessarily realising it. Currently the courses are only open to serving personnel, but as

©Felix Fund


A yoga session gets underway on one of the Dashboard courses.


we continue to develop the programme and raise more funds we will in the very near future be opening this up to veterans as well. If you would like to know about the charity or to make a donation, please get in touch at enquiries@ felixfund.org.uk. Visit our website www.felixfund.org.uk or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @FelixFund.✺ Melanie Moughton has been CEO of Felix Fund APPROACHING CERTAIN SITUATIONS since 2015. Drawing on DIFFERENTLY. I HAVE MORE APPRECIATION over 10 years’ experience in the ‘third sector’ she FOR WHAT AND WHO IS IN MY LIFE. has assisted the board LCPL SERVING IN 101 ENGR REGT of trustees through strategic and operational transformations needed to help today’s EOD community. Her professional links to the military go back to an early-career role with the Ministry of Defence and her personal connection with the armed forces goes back further still: her father was an Ammunition Technical Officer for 37 years while her brother is still serving as an Ammunition Technician today with over 26 years’ experience in the Army. AFTER THE COURSE I REALISE I AM ©Felix Fund

now rolling out this programme to the whole reach of Felix Fund. This means all three services plus the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terror Unit SO15. To date Felix Fund has had over 200 EOD and Search personnel go through these courses, with fantastic results – a 98% positive response to the course and what it delivers, and 90% of people stating they would encourage colleagues to attend. Also, 80% stated they would continue with the meditation and breathing techniques. The course is not standalone; it can be used as a signposting mechanism for additional help from Welfare Officers, medical



©Felix Fund


THE MYSTIC SUITE All photos ©Mystic HQ



This product pyramid shows the Mystic product suite.

CBNW Xplosive: Could you provide a short history of the company – and how it became involved in the EOD equipment market?

JM: A good friend of mine who I went to Navy EOD school with contacted me some years ago about the UXO industry he was in and how antiquated the field data collection process was, and wondered if I could help. Fast forward six years and you now see the fruits of that labour. Field data collection is carried out with Mystic Patrol.

Entering the EOD market felt as natural as going home. It’s one big family and I’m proud to be a part of it. CBNW Xplosive: Please could you outline your latest range of products?

JM: The Mystic Suite of Software is

Third-party quality control services by UXOQCS overseeing demining in the Middle East.

full of time-saving tools for Operations and Project management. Mystic HQ, our nerve centre located on an AWS (Amazon Web Services) GovCloud Lvl4 server, handles all incoming data which can then be managed, quality controlled (QC), mapped, and used to generate custom reports. Mystic Patrol is a mobile application for collecting field data with your forms. Mystic Lincoln Logs is a personnel compliance mobile app with two-way data transfer capability with Mystic HQ, helping you to manage information per project, such as individual resumés (auto-updated), work certificates with alert notifications, supervisor e-sign (electronic signature) for work hours and customizable statistical tracking, i.e. work hours, jumps, dives, soil samples, water temperatures, etc. CBNW Xplosive: Please could you explain as far as you can how the Mystic Suite of Software is used?





JM: We offer two main field capabilities, training and third-party quality control by highly-qualified UXOQCS (Unexploded Ordnance Quality Control Supervisor). CBNW Xplosive: Can you explain what training you offer to end-users?

JM: Our software is used to manage projects, missions, or operations – essentially anywhere personnel or data needs to be collected or reports generated. Mystic software is a huge time saver in these areas, as it helps organize personnel data by projects, collects field data and then manages that data to be quality controlled, mapped and reported on our clients’ forms.

Oversight of Multiple Projects with project details (hours, people, supervisors) and shared file/ messaging system with third-party QA integration.

CBNW Xplosive: Who are your main customers in the civil sector and the military sector, and in what countries?

JM: In the civil and military sectors we’ve been laser focused on the UXO companies and EOD units respectively. Due to the added flexible capabilities that we’ve recently added, we are now able to provide solutions to any industry that manage projects, such as, environmental, first responders, and construction – to name a few. CBNW Xplosive: What are the key capabilities that your personnel can provide in the field?

Field data is visualized in Mystic HQ.

JM: We offer on-site hands on training to our customers as well as email and phone support. Our help sections on all of our software products are very comprehensive and user friendly and can walk a user through most of their questions quite easily. We also have a training video library on our website for visual tutorials. CBNW Xplosive: What are the advantages of your systems over other products on the market?

JM: One of the biggest advantages of becoming a Mystic Software customer is that your data is immediately accessible and available from any location in the world on our secure AWS GovCloud Lvl4 server. This means that customers get instant visibility into operational issues: field data, personnel, compliance, and completion rates – letting them manage their operations more efficiently as well as saving time and money and heading off potential issues. Additionally, we give our customers third-party quality assurance capability with the click of a button on a project-by-project basis. This feature allows the client to assign third-party oversight to any individual outside of their company, such as NavFac, Army Corp of Engineers, or any other governing body or client who has a say regarding a particular project. CBNW Xplosive: Can you supply any other services for Counter-IED and demining?

JM: We are always looking for strategic partnerships to enhance our customer capabilities. For




example, we’ve recently partnered with Blue Force Development, a sensor data company that captures data from various sensors. The partnership allows our customers to collect and store their sensor data in Mystic HQ, map it, and add that data into their reports – such as showing the GPS track of K9s or sweepers in the field. The possibilities are very exciting. Additionally, we offer through Mystic HQ the ability to import data from other sources such as Fulcrum or CSV (Comma-Separated Value) files. Once imported, customers can


The Mystic Lincoln Logs mobile app is designed for Individuals.



expensive undertaking. We make it so much easier and less expense to accomplish, that you never have to worry about whether or not your workforce is staying in compliance. CBNW Xplosive: How do you see this technology progressing in this vital sector?



JM: Exponentially. We have just begun to scratch the surface on what our software can do and where it’s heading. The fastest way a company can save money is by cutting costs. We help do this tenfold, all the while making them more nimble and better informed, whether for the next day or Compliance the next bid proposal. ✺ tracking and information flow.

QC, map, and generate their reports. CBNW Xplosive: Where do you see the greatest potential growth sector for your products?

JM: I personally see the Compliance sector with the most growth potential. The UXO/EOD industry is, as you know, one with many hazards – as are many other industries. Finding, maintaining and keeping qualified individuals can and is an As a former Navy EOD, John Matta is driven by his passion for the EOD/UXO communities to create software solutions for managing and optimizing operations to meet the unique requirements of this industry. For the past six years he has been President of BCTL, Co, producing user-friendly software products. Mystic Lincoln Logs, the most recent software launch, is a mobile app and web-based project management program allowing users oversight of all their projects and operations while helping their customers adhere to strict compliance requirements in a demanding industry.




DEMINING System of systems VTOL was pioneered by the British Army’s Operation Talisman in Afghanistan – a ‘system of systems’ used for route clearance to detect and destroy IEDs, mines and explosive traps, then clear the way for the following vehicles. One of the Talisman systems was the Honeywell T-Hawk, a VTOL mini-UAV with some 45 minutes of endurance. It provided overwatch for convoys and to scout ahead, and its air downwash was known to be exploited to blast the dust away from suspected IEDs on the road ahead. Seek and destroy Talisman was the inspiration for the London-based company SteelRock Technologies (SRT), which in partnership with Richmond Defence Systems (RDS) has developed the


SRW03 Protector, a UAV-borne IED disruptor able to neutralize a wide range of IED threats – either from the air or on the ground. Using an interchangeable payload system comprising a sophisticated thermal electro-optical (EO) camera and a 40-mm recoilless disrupter with an encrypted fire control, the system is been developed as a seek-and-destroy solution to the increasing IED threat. The platform is built around an X8 KDE Direct brushless motor/rotor drive system with two counterrotating propellers and motors at each corner. The SRW03 has been designed for heavy lift payloads and stability in flight for a wide range of operating conditions. With a maximum speed of 100 km/h, the SRW03 UAV has a maximum telemetry range of 150 km from base station and can carry a 50-kg payload for up to two hours. In a series of trials at SteelRock’s test facility in South Wales, the Protector system has successfully disrupted and neutralized IED threats both at ground level and while airborne. SteelRock’s co-founder Rupert English told CBNW Xplosive that

one of the SRW03’s roles could be route protection when it could carry a ground penetrating radar payload to detect IEDs or mines that could be detonated with the 40-mm disrupter. STINGER for the future soldier A similar C-IED system being adopted by Singapore company ST Engineering is a Stinger Intelligent Network Gun Equipped Robotics system (STINGER). The unmanned aerial multi-rotor gunship is under development as part of ST Engineering’s Future Soldier Solution. This includes a quad-rotor VTOL UAV armed with the world’s lightest 5.56-mm machine gun, the 6.8-kg Ultramax U100 Mk.8 – which has a constant recoil system on a shock-reducing gimbal that enables it to be fired accurately in full automotive mode from a UAV, with an accuracy of up to 300 m. It is able to carry 100 lightweight polymer 5.65-mm rounds and the system has an auto target-tracking capability with advanced fire control system.


SteelRock’s SRW03 Protector VTOL UAV counter-IED system is shown in flight.

SEEK AND DESTROY In an age where IEDs are being used with devastating effect in a variety of geographic regions, and post-conflict countries are plagued with discarded and unmapped unexploded ordnance (UXO), an ability to counter these threats quickly and at no risk to service personnel has become an important strategic imperative worldwide. One way this can be achieved is the used of small vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles for both search and destroy.





ST Engineering’s Unmanned System Datalink is designed for use with UAVs and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). It enables command, control, video streaming and telemetry information of up to a maximum of three UAVs simultaneously over a range of up to 30 km, with a maximum data rate of 4 Mbps per data link per UAV. The system is able to switch to a different modulation scheme automatically based on the signal-to-noise ratio received, thereby achieving better spectrum efficiency.



The Manta UAV can position an explosive charge next to UXO that can then be remotely detonated.

The Mine Kafon (MFD) Vento micro-UAV is used for mapping hazardous areas.



The former war zones of the world are littered with millions of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW), and every day numerous civilians are maimed or killed by these explosives. In addition, these mines also pose a major obstacle to the economic and social re-development of communities following conflict. Surveying and clearing such areas from UXOs continues to be expensive and challenging due to a range of difficulties that vary between location and other variables.

The SRW03 can be used as a ground-based firing platform to destroy IEDs.


An Airborne Data Terminal (ADT) connected to the UAV control system is linked to the camera on board the STINGER platform. Together with the ground data terminal (GDT), which is connected to the UAV GCS, it will allow the operator to remotely view video feeds and perform telemetry and uplink control, as well as downlink telemetry of the UAV. STINGER is being developed to increase soldier survivability and reduce casualty loss by providing immediate aerial fire support and disarming targets, including IEDs, remotely. MINE KAFON One of the countries suffering more than most from the dual threat of IEDs and UXO is Afghanistan – and it is two Afghan brothers, Massoud and Mahmud Hassani, who have been developing a project both as a legitimate mine clearing device and a global awareness project known as Mine Kafon (MKD). Based in the Netherlands, MKD is developing a range of solutions aimed at UXO clearance following conflict. It is using disruptive technologies to change how demining efforts are undertaken,





making clearance faster, safer, cheaper and easy to implement across affected diverse regions. Vento MKD has designed a range of multi-rotor VTOL UAVs. The Vento is a small, low-cost surveying and mapping micro-UAV which is open source and can be made available to the communities who need the UAVs most, including non-government agencies (NGOs). The UAV’s simple, functional design makes it easy to repair, with 3D printed casing to decentralize manufacture, keeping operating costs low. Hazardous areas are identified via

The RDS 40mm recoilless disrupter carried by the SRW03 Protector UAV.

©David Oliver


live video stream using a highresolution camera with powerful zooming capabilities. The user then marks identified mines or craters on a digital map, and a 3D map of the area of interest is then created using the autonomous mapping functionalities. This map can then be utilized to further inspect the terrain and potentially identify dangerous regions using computer vision algorithms. Destiny MKD’s Destiny micro-UAV is a long-range surveillance drone equipped with a high-resolution 10 x zoom camera on a three-axis gimbal. It is capable of long-range flights of up to a 5 km in distance, maintaining



The heavylifter Manta multi-rotor VTOL UAV is shown being assembled at Mine-Kafon’s workshop in the Netherlands.

precise position information with the use of RTK (real-time kinematic) technology. Compact, durable and able to operate in difficult weather conditions, the Destiny UAV is constructed with high-performance carbon fibre to reduce weight and increase flight time up to one hour. Due to its X8 motor configuration, if one or two motors fail in emergency situations, the Destiny is still capable of flying safely. Manta Based on the 3D maps created by a mapping UAV, the autonomous heavy-lifting MKD Manta VTOL UAV systematically moves across the hazardous area. It is capable of

carrying several mine detection sensors including a metal detector, GPR and a sample collection device for chemical analysis. Data from detection sensors is processed using data fusion algorithms to obtain precise position information. Depending on the surroundings and identification data, the UXOs are either detonated using a remotely positioned explosive charge carried by the UAV, or disarmed by a human deminer. Manta’s eight powerful motors and propellers in coaxial configuration enable it to carry demining robots and sensors of up to 30 kg overall weight. It is powered by eight smartphone 6s batteries giving it a maximum flight time of 60 minutes. Manta is a flexible platform designed to be compatible with all MKD demining UAVs, and which can be re-roled in seconds for a variety of operations. Manta is compatible with the Mine Kafon ground control station (GCS), where besides the functionalities common to all its range of UAVs, the software also provides specific interfaces for each of the robotic systems. ✺

CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver is the author of 18 defence-related books and a regular correspondent for defence publications.

NCTAsia A Vision of IB Consultancy

9-11 October | Sheraton Hanoi|Vietnam The world’s most successful CBRNe event series is heading back to Vietnam for the 11th edition of NCT Asia! Taking place at the Hanoi Sheraton Hotel from 9-11 October 2018, NCT Asia will be organized in partnership with the Vietnamese People’s Army Military Medical Department and with the support of the Vietnamese Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety (VARANS) and the Vietnam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC). Following attacks using chemical agents in neighbouring Malaysia last year, the Vietnamese are investing heavily in preparation for CBRNe incidents. Vietnam itself has made many strides in overcoming a long history of landmine and explosive remnants of war (EWR) contamination, and can provide key insights from lessons learned in CBRNe defense and response. There is no better place to be in the Asia region than Vietnam! NCT Asia 2018 will kick-off with a live capability demonstration on the first day of the event, followed by two days of parallel conference and workshop streams. The event will also feature an exhibition tour of leading CBRNe industries. The conference and workshops will cover a wide-range of topics in the field of CBRN, C-IED and EOD including: countering the IED threat in the Asia region; UXO and landmine clearance in post-conflict zones; and CBRNe capability development in South East Asia. The partnership with the Vietnamese People’s Army and the support of VNMAC and VARANS will bring together high-level decision-makers, experienced first-responders and industry leaders from all over the region! NCT Asia will be again the must-attend CBRNe event in Asia this year! Upcoming events include NCT South America, 5-7 February 2019, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil www.nctsouthamerica.com +31 71 744 0174

NCT USA, 7-9 May 2019, Washington DC www.nct-usa.com

www.ib-consultancy.com @ibconsultancy

NCT Europe, 25-27 June 2019, Vienna, Austria www.nct-europe.com

facebook.com/ibconsultancy vimeo.com/ibconsultancy


DETECTION Incoming mail flagged during X-ray inspection is tested for explosive particulate traces.



All photos ŠFLIR



s the threat of terrorism increases in the UK it is essential that we look to adapt proactive methods to disrupt and prevent terrorist use of explosive devices. Recent, highprofile events in Manchester and London have further highlighted the threat of IEDs to civilians, infrastructure and lifestyle in the UK as has a plethora of attacks in France and Belgium. Handheld explosive trace detectors (ETDs) have long been used by the military at checkpoints, road blocks and on foot patrols to



TRUE To address the evolving global threat of terrorism, it is essential that we implement robust portable detection technology and mobile screening protocols. This type of technology can quickly deliver threat detection and security to more locations worldwide and bolster the overall security measures that are currently in place.

detect contact with IEDs. They provide a simple and portable way to detect explosive residue, adding a valuable layer of intelligence when securing a location. Sporting events, concerts and crowded public gatherings are good examples where portable ETDs can be used to enhance public safety. Combined detection It is important to recognise that not one single detection technology can be used for every scenario. ETDs are used specifically for detecting trace amounts of explosive material to

enable pre-emptive operations to prevent terror threats. A variety of complementary explosive detection technologies are recommended for different sample forms. For example, X-ray screening is used initially to investigate suspect bulk explosive materials and spectroscopy and colorimetric devices can be used as confirmatory tools to identify samples of unknown substances. Handheld ETD Handheld ETDs most commonly operate by collecting trace quantities of explosive material that is present


on surfaces that have been in contact with explosives or where individuals who have handled explosive materials, leave behind fingerprints containing explosive particles.



Trace explosives are most likely to be present on first-touch surfaces such as door handles, steering wheels and personal items such as mobile phones, belts, bags, etc. Trace is most commonly defined as a ‘non-visible’ quantity or less than 1 microgram. An ETD analyses the sample and returns a result of ‘No Threat or ‘Threat Detected’, providing the operator with definitive, actionable intelligence that can be used to proceed according to their standard operating protocols.

Vapour or particulate Trace explosives can be detected by sampling either vapour or particulate. Various operational scenarios require different methods The FLIR Fido X2 of detection. Explosive Explosive Trace Detector features particulate residues are solid amplifying fluoressource. Vapour plumes traces left behind when cent polymer (AFP) can be quickly diluted explosives are moved or technology. in the air over long handled, and can be distances, posing a transferred from surface to sampling challenge to surface through secondary contact. those trying to identify the source. Explosive vapour occurs from Given the proper conditions, devices a bulk source. The concentration such as the FLIR Fido X2 & X3 ETD of vapour is dependent on series have the capability to detect environmental factors such as both particulate and vapour explosive concealment, temperature, and traces. air currents. Vapour detection can be challenging unless the detector is Choosing ETD close in proximity to the explosive ETDs must produce visibly clear


alerts – with a low incidence of false alarms – to enable an effective and consistent response to potential threats. ETDs can also provide varying levels of threat information, including the source of the explosive, its name, chemical class, functional chemical group and more. Understanding and interpreting this information is critical to an effective and measured response. The size, weight, and power of handheld devices must also be given considerable thought. With the

Counterterrorism police utilize ETD in an intelligence-led operation.




DETECTION The FLIR Fido X3 Explosive Trace Detector detects military-grade explosive material.

Military personnel check cargo for explosive threats.

Abandoned luggage is screened in an airport environment.

average user carrying large amounts of heavy equipment, devices that are easily portable offer versatile deployment options, delivering explosives detection capability into a wide-range of operational environments. Other factors affecting system portability include ergonomics, battery life, ‘cold-start’ time and hardware ruggedness. ETD operator training is critical in effectively and efficiently deploying the technology. Systems that are intuitive to operate, simple to interpret and easy to maintain, can be consistently operated with limited amounts of down-time. This allows new operators to quickly become proficient, eliminating potential gaps in security. Multiple technologies Multiple technologies exist for explosive trace detection. Each type of technology can offer capability, based on the operational mission of the end-user. IMS technologies are routinely used at fixed-site locations due to their larger size and power

requirements. However, cost of ownership is relatively low and sample throughput is adequate for applications such as checkpoint screening. Raman and colorimetric technologies are portable and effectively used when visible quantities of an unknown substance are present. They are typically used by expert responders or EOD teams when faced with a visible threat. FIDO X series The FLIR Fido X2 and X3 use TrueTrace technology for detection of trace (nanogram) amounts of explosives. FIDO X Series uses multiplexed luminescence technology, a reversible, chemicallyspecific interaction. TrueTraceenabled devices allow high throughput with a low cost-per sample, making them a popular portable trace detection instrument. The FIDO X2 is an ultralightweight handheld device, offering maximum portability, while FIDO X3 is designed to meet military requirements and is tested against rigorous MIL-STD-810G and IP54 standards. Within ten seconds, FIDO can accurately analyze samples collected with reusable swabs. Both ETDs display simple ‘Threat’/’No Threat’ results, along

with category-based explosive identification. The system GUI (graphics user interface) and on-board tutorial videos guide the user through operation of both systems. Basic operator training can be completed in less than an hour. Both devices provide versatile deployment of explosive trace detection into wide-ranging operational environments. FIDO X Series comprehensive threat detection is not limited to fixed sites or to visible quantities of explosive material. This type of technology can be used to disrupt and pre-emptively detect explosive threats that are meant to harm innocent citizens and cause serious damage to infrastructure. With the global threat of terrorism ever-present and evolving with tragic events involving the use of IEDs taking innocent lives, the need has grown for innovative and versatile technologies to disrupt terrorist plots and prevent large and small-scale events before they occur. Deploying a variety of orthogonal detection and security solutions is vital to meeting this challenge head-on. Portable handheld ETD technology, such as the FLIR FIDO X-Series, is sensitive, portable and intuitive, allowing it to play a primary role in this effort. ✺

James Tomlinson is the CBRNe Sales Manager at Southern Scientific Ltd with seven years’ experience in Military/First Responder sales and a background in radiation detection and scintillation materials.



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he IED is the favoured weapon of choice in irregular warfare and will be for years to come. It threatens the safety and security not only of combatants, but increasingly of the welfare of the general population within the area of conflict and at home. It can leverage an



advantage against a superior, conventional opposition and have a destabilizing effect. The IED is often an anonymous weapon that can have significant strategic, political, operational and tactical effects. Threat networks use IEDs because they are cheap, easy to build, composed of readily available

©User geni/Wikipedia

dual-purpose components and are extremely effective. Terrorists and organized crime syndicates are clever, crude, and increasingly low tech. An adamantly determined adversary deploying easily concocted or procured, untraceable, mouldable explosives makes for explosive mobility and crafty concealment.



ISIS – terrorists at war As a terrorist group like ISIS – Daesh – loses territory, it shifts geographically and tactically. We saw this in Raqqa in 2017, when the large-scale attacks and conventional fighting devolved into insurgency actions. The group began relying more on using IEDs in over 80% of its attacks in Syria. Asymmetric attacks by ‘lone wolves’ inspired by the poisonous ideology of Daesh also increased in Western capitals. We also saw them removed from Syria and Iraq


©British Resistance Archive

One of British Military Intelligence (Research)’s favourite ‘dirty’ weapons was the Switch No. 8 AP – later know to soldiers in the Western Desert as the open ‘castrator’. This booby-trap device consisted of a pen-sized metal tube painted black; it contained a firing pin and a spring shaped like an umbrella catch. It was plugged vertically into the ground and a cartridge was inserted into it, nose upward, with the bullet protruding slightly out of the earth. The weight of a foot on the tip caused the spring to release the firing pin.

This ‘barrack buster’ mortar was typical of Provisional IRA weapons improvisation.

The Switch No. 8 AP was known to soldiers in the Western Desert as the open 'castrator'.

only to establish a new caliphate in the Philippines. As Abu Sayyaf lines up with ISIS, the archipelago becomes a launching point for ideologically-based violence across Southeast Asia.

The versatile adversary Our deterrence generally presupposes a rational adversary. The number of ways an asymmetric adversary can attack you is limited only by your imagination. What they can do to us is far greater than can ever be defended against. Not only will the insurgents keep inventing new bombs and techniques, they’re also capable at any time to re-use older IEDs and combine explosive with pathogens. Generally, terrorist groups start out with limited technical competence with acquisition of knowledge and skills from varying sources – from actual training camps to homegrown knowledge – some of it faulty – off the


©Dreamscape media


Internet. But chiefly they learn from each other, they share information within the global melting pot of terrorism. The Internet and social media has made this so much faster. The IRA worked its way through every available bandwidth from model aircraft controllers to cell phones. It took them 30 years. But Iraqi insurgents with the Internet along with legacy munitions managed the same evolution in just 18 months. Deadly ingenuity As Andy Oppenheimer, editor of this publication and author of IRA: The Bombs and the Bullets – A History of Deadly Ingenuity (2008) explains, the Provisional IRA had one of the most intensive R&D programmes, exporting their ingenuity worldwide. They pioneered mobile phone initiation – but decided not to use it. They assisted the Basque group ETA with GPS technology, used for vehicle-borne IEDs. The IRA supported the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) for many years, exchanging arms from Al-Fatah for bomb-making instruction. Multiple IRA Mark 18 mortars (simply two gas cylinders welded together with a payload of HME) were used to attack the presidential palace in the Colombian capital, Bogotá. Training was also exported to Cuba, Iran and Libya for which the IRA received shiploads of arms and Semtex explosives from Libya. In recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan command wire, disguised devices and trigger devices with hallmarks of IEDs from 1980 were deployed tactically – straight out of the IRA handbook.




ASYMMETRIC WARFARE Dirty tricks The dirty tricks of irregular warfare were not lost on Winston Churchill who, in 1939, formed his ‘secret army’ tasked with causing havoc behind enemy lines, had the Nazis invaded Britain. This small asymmetric force hid bomb-making manuals in plain sight, disguised as a book called The Countryman’s Diary – sponsored by ‘Highworth’s Fertilisers’, a fictional company named after the Wilshire town near

©Andy Oppenheimer/IRA Inventory of Weapons

©Iraqi Army EOD Training Centre

Weapons, Dublin. ©Noe Falk Nielsen via Facebook

Even toys are used in terrorist IEDs, such as this booby-trapped teddy in Iraq.

rule-book. He said: “total war is a very cruel business indeed.” Churchill agreed, referring to them as his “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” Despite the many technological advantages of the military, insurgents throughout history have proven their resilience in large-scale campaigns. Their military innovation curve is much faster by necessity. We knew to expect this on a global scale, 20 years ago. Insurgents now use new Samples of the combinations of available many types of explosives seized from commercial technologies to great Provisional IRA stocks military effect. and since stored in the In the future, combatants IRA Inventory of

©Iraqi Army

ISIS drones could carry a payload of explosive as well as be used for reconnaissance.

to where the units trained. Its cover promised “agricultural fertilizers that “do their stuff unseen until you see results.” Open it up and a comprehensive guide on explosive recipes, booby traps and IED tactics is revealed. They also received mines designed to burst tyres – disguised as lumps of coal or horse manure and able to hold about at least two ounces of HE and a detonator. These along with a standard explosives kit containing copper tube igniters, Nobel’s explosive and a variety of switches, detonators and timers

allowed some freedom of expression in the design and deployment of IEDs. Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare This early force formed the model for Special Operations Executive (SOE), led by the father of modern guerrilla warfare, Colin Gubbins – a dapper Scottish Highlander and a self-taught master of sabotage. Gubbins had brought together five like-minded experts who believed, like him, that the Nazis would only be defeated by tearing up the

armed with IEDs in commercially available drones, remote controlled boats, sea mines, and robots could easily deny the conventional force the staples of low-intensity conflict – such as small-boat and helicopter operations – in a strategic manner. Just one chem-bio dispersal bomb deployed once makes the threat of further attack enough to panic millions around the world. Weaker belligerents have used tactics and methods to readdress the balance of symmetry throughout history. Little is new – so why should we be surprised? ✺

Kevin Cresswell is former UK Law Enforcement and British Army. He has been an international security consultant since 2007 and is based in Los Angeles, California.






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Based at Dison in Belgium, Teledyne ICM provides ultralight and efficient Constant Potential portable X-ray generators and digital X-Ray scanners for security, including explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and non-destructive testing (NDT) applications. Its expertise is used throughout a wide range of applications – from the quick X-ray scanning of suspected IEDs to the inspections of lost baggage in airports and the scanning of car tanks at border controls.

All photos ©Teledyne ICM

CBNW Xplosive: Could you provide a short history of the company – and how it became involved in the market?

LC: Teledyne ICM, previously ICM X-ray, is a Belgian company founded in 1993 by two engineers specializing in X-rays. They first got involved in the NDT industry, which deals with industrial inspections. After a few years in the business, the company decided to branch out into the security market that was in need of a new portable technology dedicated to detecting hazardous

items, drugs, and potential threats. In 2016, ICM were acquired by the American company, Teledyne Technology and became Teledyne ICM. CBNW Xplosive: How many staff does Teledyne employ and how many are involved in research and development?

LC: We employ 49 persons in Belgium, 15 of which are with the R&D department. We also have people working in sales, marketing, administration, and about 25 highly






qualified workers in the production department. CBNW Xplosive: Can you explain the different explosive components marketed under your main brands?

LC: We manufacture portable X-ray systems. These portable systems are composed of an X-ray source, a flat pane and a rugged tablet. Once you decide to inspect an item, the operator places the source and the panel on each side of the object before starting the process of

inspection using the software on the tablet. Currently we offer two distinctive systems, the FLATSCAN 30XS and the FLATSCAN 15XS. Those two products vary in size. One is 76 cm (30 in) across while the other is 38 cm (15 in). Being able to compact the Constant Potential X-Ray technology into a 45.5-cm (18-in) batterypowered generator has been one of the ultimate tests for our R&D department! With ease of use for the operator in mind, the design of theCP120B and CP160B was quite

straightforward and focused on the end user. However, fitting this state-of-the-art X-ray source into a safe and powerful generator has been one of the most complex puzzles our engineers have had to face since ICM’s inception. CBNW Xplosive: What are the advantages of your products over other products on the market?

LC: We are the only company that develops, designs, and manufactures the complete system. All the other

Bomb squads use Teledyne ICM portable X-ray systems in the Middle East.





competitors are integrators who buy separate parts and assemble them, which is not ideal for after-sales service procedures and production processes. Teledyne ICM on the other hand is a one-stop solution and able to deliver tailor-made equipment. Moreover, we have the largest portable X-ray panel on the market which operators greatly appreciate – because such an increased size allows quicker inspections of larger items. The FLATSCAN 15XS portable X-ray system is used with the Teledyne ICM CP160B portable battery directional unit.

An EOD operator uses the Teledyne ICM X-ray system to identify a suspect package.

throughout the world increasingly need security measures effectively capable of assessing the level of threat they face. For this reason, I believe the event LC: Of course. We never sell any industry will be one of the top piece of equipment without giving growth markets in the advanced training to the end This colour coming years. âœş users of our products. Yet, our image was solutions are designed to be produced by the as user-friendly as possible, FLATSCAN X-ray system. resulting in very intuitive use. CBNW Xplosive: Do you offer training in the use of your products to customers?

CBNW Xplosive: Where do you see the greatest potential growth sector for your product sector?

All the important sporting events currently taking place CBNW Xplosive: What percentage of your business is in the military/ paramilitary sector?

LC: Since we are also involved in the non-destructive testing market, the security/defence business accounts for about half of our activity.

These military personnel are using the FLATSCAN 30XS X-ray system at the National Training Centre at Vught in the Netherlands.

CBNW Xplosive: Who are your main customers in the military/ para-military sector?

We work mainly with EOD/IED and bomb squad teams. However, we also have customers in police forces, border patrols, and other law enforcement agencies. Teledyne ICM is an historic supplier to the DOVO (Belgian Bomb Disposal Squad).



eURosAToRY 2018,

A MAJoR eveNT FoR CBRNe iNDUsTRY Eurosatory,

thE intErnational lEading Exhibition of

land and airland from



dEfEncE and sEcurity, was 15 JunE 2018 in Paris.



ith 1,802 exhibitors from 63 countries and 57,056 professional visitors from 153 countries, Eurosatory has unquestionably established itself as the leading international exhibition in the field of Land and Airland Defence and Security. The 26th edition of Eurosatory, which took place on 11-15 June 2018, highlighted an upgrade of the visitor’s level and an unprecedented scale of internationalisation and professionalisation of the exhibition. CBRNe domain is a historical component of the exhibition. Among the exhibiting companies, 113 are exhibitors from CBRNe industry such as Avon Protection, Bertin Technologies, Bruker Detection, Camero, Cristanini, Dräger Safety, Karcher, MTC Slovakia, Oritest, Ouvry, Teijin Aramid, Xinxing Jihua International Trading, Yakeda and others. A technology cluster dedicated to CBRNe issues exists since 2008 and gathers CBRNe companies. About 20 % of Official Delegations have shown an interest for the domain and have visited manufacturers from CBRNe sector.

For the first time in the exhibition’s history, Prefecture of Police (with interservices, the BRI and the BSPP), the governmental organisation in charge of Security in the Paris area, realised a live demonstration dedicated to CBRNe issues. Moreover, it invited and hosted at the exhibition Chiefs of Police of New York, London, Sydney, Stockholm and other “terror-

impacted” cities to bring and exchange their knowledge in responses to terrorist threats. In 2018, a CBRNe thematic event was held. It comprised TTX (Table Top Exercise) bringing together various experts and manufacturers, conferences on TTX debriefing and military & civil topics and a Community Cocktail Reception for networking between delegations, institutional representatives, experts, manufacturers and exhibitors. Among the conferences on CBRNe issues there were State of the CBRNe Threat in the World, Innovative Solutions in countering CBRNe threats, ENCIRCLE - Improving European CBRNe resilience and capability to CBRNe. ✺

Eurosatory is definitely the unmissable exhibition for CBRNe companies. Eurosatory 2020 will take place in Paris, 8-12 June 2020. For more information, please visit www.eurosatory.com.

















he OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) found that chlorine had been "released from cylinders by improvised devices" in the town of Saraqeb in northern Syria in February of this year. The use of chlorine IEDs in Syria has not been an isolated case and further instances have been documented in other countries such as Iraq. Dealing with IEDs that



While improvised in nature, handling such deadly weapons is no simple matter. It entails detection, analysis and precise identification of these improvised threats, defusing and separating the explosive from the CBRN elements and, finally, safely disposing of the components, and the importance of effective communication during such an event, including identification of challenges and possible pitfalls before crises occur, cannot be understated.

contain CBRN agents is also a growing threat to most developed nations. Changing needs The extensive telecommunications networks and CBRN detection systems utilized by most western nations ensures that Enablers 1 and 2 can be swiftly determined for any CBRNE event. The urgent need for quick action should such an event take place means effective communication is vital. Any CBRNE event would not only require cooperation between governments, counter-terrorism

officials and counter-proliferation agencies through effective communication, it would also necessitate changes in the requirements for, and capabilities of, CBRNE Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the CBRNE threat changes. With reference to Enabler 3, the PPE ensemble is there to save life and prevent injury. But it must also enable the first responder to carry on and do their job in a contaminated or hostile environment. If the chosen PPE ensemble cannot allow Enablers 1 and 2 to be delivered in a timely and effective manner, then lives


All photos except title image ©Scott Safety

A typical EOD Operator PPE is designed to mitigate blast effects from any improvised device.

According to the European Defence Agency (EDA) CBRN Exercise Firm Foundation December 2008, dealing with threats where a CBRN material is delivered via an IED (the ‘E’ in CBRNE), requires three enablers:


could potentially be put at risk – through a delay in dealing with an IED on a timer circuit, for example. Therefore, when considering PPE choices for a CBRNE event, we must always consider the holistic approach. Do the first responders’ bomb suits integrate effectively with their CBRN Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) or communications system requirements, and vice versa? If the answer is ‘no’, then the essential time taken to respond effectively to changing situations increases. Increased protection First responders face unique risks in

1. Detection, identification and monitoring capabilities to forewarn personnel of hazardous agent concentrations and provide additional information on the type and nature of the hazard, as well as continuously monitoring the hazard over time 2. Warning and reporting capabilities for the rapid collection, evaluation and dissemination of data about CBRN incidents, including prediction of hazard areas 3. Individual and collective protection, e.g. respiratory protective equipment (RPE), bomb suits, and so on, which enable personnel to survive incidents and to continue operating in an IED/CBRN environment aiding those with unknown contagions. Their protective ensemble normally reflects a very high level of protection, including state-of-the-art CBRN respiratory protection. The modern First Responder Respirator (FRR) from 3M is able to cover a wide range of Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

and threat scenarios, providing both positive and negative pressure capabilities within the single respirator face piece, and can be worn with advanced ballistic protection in the form of bomb suits designed to mitigate blast effects from any IED device. However, the high levels of






Communications system in a modern CBRN respirator includes a) a speech diaphragm in the General Service Respirator and b) a Voice Projection Unit.

protection necessary to protect the first responder can, potentially, result in a combined PPE ensemble that actually inhibits the operators’ interactions and communications with the outside world. For example, full facepiece respirators can interfere with visual cues when speaking and listening. It thus becomes more difficult not only to recognise what is said, but also who is saying it. Distance and intelligibility are interrelated; longer distances between communicating individuals can result in less intelligibility. This latter facet is significant when one considers the size of operational safe distances utilized by government agencies around any CBRNE incident site, with cordons of up to 500 m being typical. Enabling communications Unless designed correctly, an operator’s PPE ensemble may inhibit communications. This needs to be considered when dealing with the potential explosive part of the incident and before carrying out CBRN hazard management activities. Special communication equipment is now available from various manufacturers and some respirators now have speech diaphragms, or are made of materials that enhance speech transmission. For example, the speech diaphragm incorporated within the UK’s General Service Respirator – GSR – is situated directly in front of the wearer’s

Headsets from 3M have the added advantage of an environmental listening feature (level dependent functionality) for auditory situational awareness, and face-to-face communications. As described, b previously clear communications over distance are extremely important during any CBRNE recovery operation, especially when the operators are using RPE. Environmental Listening is a means of allowing low-level sounds to bypass the individual hearing protection while still protecting mouth and is designed to minimize against the harmful peak sound speech attenuation. pressure levels likely to be Through its unique design, the encountered by first responders. communication system on a modern Sound amplification allows the user respirator such as the GSR or FRR to hear low-level sounds, including can be augmented via a Voice range commands and conversation, Projection Unit, which simply clips further demonstrating how important onto the respirator’s internal speech holistic PPE selection is when diaphragm and amplifies the considering counter-CBRNE speaker’s voice, enabling it to be operations. heard at distance more clearly. Although the above respirators Integration into a secure radiowere originally intended to meet the communications network can be exacting threats generated by the achieved through the addition of Cold War, the 21st-century first dynamic or electret microphone responder is now faced with an and ‘Push to Talk’ or radio array, ever-shifting CBRNE threat spectrum. with connection to a Peltor-based Modern respirators such as the FRR communications headset from 3M. have evolved accordingly and are now capable of not only delivering Environmental listening their primary life-saving function, Dedicated communications systems but also act as a platform such as the PELTOR COMTAC with which to integrate Tactical Communication other mission-critical The Fully Integrated Respirator Communiinfrastructure, such as cations System has the communications systems addition of a dynamic or and other PPE. ✺ electret microphone and ‘Push to Talk’ or radio array.

Dr David Crouch is Global Subject Matter Expert for Military and Civil Defence for science-based technology company 3M. A professional chemist with more than 25 years’ experience in materials science and CBRN protection, he is also the chairman of CBRN-UK, the UK industry’s specialist CBRN interest group.




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CSI: CBRNE All photos ŠHotzone Solutions




As an integral part of the International CBRNE Institute (ICI), the CBRN-E Knowledge Centre Community of Experts intends to ensure sustained impact on the demining community and value to the general public, support the European Union Security facing CBRN-E hazards threats, and welcome experts in explosive and CBRN-related issues.


he proposed Community of Experts shall, inter alia, focus on the exploitation of the toolboxes and initiatives developed in EC (European Community) projects so far and on expanding their application to risky hazards threatening civil society. Coordinating centres The CBRN-E Knowledge Centre (KC) will follow the European Agenda on Security and the new EC security research programme laid out in HORIZON 2020. The most extensive EU Research and Innovation programme to date, HORIZON 2020



promises more breakthroughs and world firsts by taking promising ideas straight from laboratory to market. To avoid duplication and ensure the ongoing exchange with practitioners and experts, cooperation with existing Centres is to be established. These include the NATO Explosive Ordnance Disposal Centre of Excellence, the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE), the International Centre of Demining (CID) located in Madrid, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD),

and the European Corporate of Security Associations (ECSA). The Community, administratively managed by this Knowledge Centre, is coordinated by a Decentralized Steering Committee responsible for external relations and visibility. The members of the community act in five Technical Task Forces (TTF): Technology Watch, Validation and Standards, Training, Analysis of User Requirements, and Counter Improvised CBRNE Devices. Crime Scene Investigation Several incidents in recent years and


Hotzone Solutions’ mobile Deployable Analytical Laboratory (DAL) communicates with the remote command and control centre.

analysed safely and properly. However, once an accident or a terrorist attack involving CBRNE material (including improvised devices) has taken place, efforts of first responders are primarily focused on the fast rescue of surviving victims, their evacuation out of the hot zones, and the preparation of decontamination points. Saving forensic evidence Although these first actions are crucial for the life-saving of many citizens and for mitigating the harmful effects of the incident, unfortunately they can also contribute to the destruction of relevant forensic evidence, thus hindering the event scene investigation. Sampling, collection and exploitation of evidentiary material are of utmost importance for determining the causes that originated the incident and for the identification and subsequent prosecution of the perpetrators

The Hotzone Solutions Incident Commander Vehicle is a mobile administrative and communication post built for rapid deployment.

of a terrorist attack. Therefore, concurrent with the immediate incident response must be a forensic level response, in case samples and information are required as part of a criminal investigation and before they can be destroyed, damaged, comprised or lost. In contrast to a conventional crime scene, forensic investigation of a CBRNE scene requires special considerations – such as considerably shorter time in the hot zone, longer distance between the forensic team and the CBRNE agent source, and the use of personal protective equipment, which add complexities to the response. Combining expertise In order to strengthen and significantly improve the capabilities of the EU law enforcement agencies responsible for forensic investigations in CBRNE scenarios, Hotzone Solutions Group and ICI aim to extend current forensic knowledge and available CBRNE detection technologies. This is to be done by the continued updating of a catalogue of performing tools and the creation of a new paradigm in CBRNE Forensic Science: A Mobile Remotely ControllEd ForensicS TOolbox for CBRNE Crime Scene InvEstigation – RESTORE. This will comprise a highly configurable, modular combination The HZSCOPTER is an auxiliary UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) from Hotzone Solutions.

more recent terrorist actions have shown both military and civilian population can be exposed to highly hazardous CBRNE agents following conflicts, natural disasters, industrial accidents or terrorism attacks. All CBRNE incidents should be handled and investigated with possible future litigation in mind. The area should be regarded as a crime scene until proven otherwise, and all forensic evidence should be tracked and

RESTORE = Mobile Remotely ControllEd ForensicS TOolbox for CBRNE Crime Scene InvEstigation





The tEODor robot is used as a base platform in European FP7-ICARUS-TIRAMISU projects.

of advanced robotic systems, modular sensors and state-of-the-art ICT technologies that will be capable of the following operations. Identifying the CBRNE agent Terrorists potentially have a wide range of available weapons, ranging from very simple to exceedingly complex, and can be categorized in five major groups – conventional weapons and explosives; nuclear and radioactive weapons; chemical weapons; biological weapons; and improvised chemical, biological, explosive devices. These weapons can be combined or used sequentially. After a CBRNE event has taken place, the early identification of the CBRNE agent can mean the difference between life and death. Real-time reconnaissance For identifying the agent, our partners can provide the capability for realtime, wide-area reconnaissance by using modular portable CBRNE sensors integrated in a tele-operated, all-terrain mobile robot (such as the tEODor) and an auxiliary UAV (such as the HZSCOPTER). Depending on the features of the incident scenario, it will be possible to deploy only one of these reconnaissance units or both working in a collaborative manner. For radiation surveillance, the proposed sensor subsystem can be based on the integration of new miniaturized sensors for gamma radiation and a high-efficiency neutron detector based on novel silicon technologies. Such a sensor subsystem has already been designed, implemented and validated in the European FP7-REWARD Project (Radiation Surveillance System). For chemical warfare agent identification and toxic industrial chemical detection, also considered are ion mobility spectrometry, infra-red spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and colorimetric and surface acoustic wave sensors. Hyperspectral imaging systems as well as vapour sensors based on



fluorescence polymers are currently evaluated for accurate explosives trace detection in a NATO project coordinated by our Croatian partner.




● Robust collection and preservation of potential evidentiary material ● Packing, labelling and transport of collected material, putting maximum effort into custody chain preservation ● On-site investigation of contaminated exhibits ● 3D Forensics registration of the incident scene ● Offering minimal disruptive effect on the crime scene and high resilience against environmental hazards ● In-situ sample screening and searching Screening, searching, sampling Today, screening and searching samples is performed by National Police CBRNE specialists, veterinarians, and microbiological experts at the site. They are trained to work in the hot zone with personal safety equipment as they are likely to be exposed to hazardous agents. Sampling protocols in hot zones, knowledge about the requirements from the legal system with regards to forensic evidence, and chain of custody are essential for such sampling.

For in-situ sample screening and searching, a tele-operated all-terrain mobile robot can be equipped with modular CBRNE sensors and a vision system, mounted on a pan-tilt unit consisting of hyperspectral, SWIR (short-wave infrared), LWIR (long wave infrared) and high-definition RGB cameras, providing the operator with better situational awareness. It is essential that the information on the status of the incident is continuously shared between the local intervention unit and the Crisis Centre. Locally, a Deployable Analytical Laboratory (DAL) can be used while unique management software (SPHYNX) developed by end users can be proposed in the regional or national centre. Depending on the level of the crisis, it will be solved either at local level (such as at the crisis centre we have at the ICI for Les Bons Villers), at regional level (province), or at national level (in Brussels for Belgium). ICI with Hotzone Solutions Group developed and tested both tools. ✺ Y. Baudoin is Professor Emeritus of the Belgian Royal Military Academy and is currently Manager of the Explosive Knowledge Centre at the ICI. O. Mattmann is CEO of Hotzone Solutions Group and Manager of the C-CBRNE Toolbox. Y. Dubucq is Director of the International CBRNE Institute (ICI).

Give Your Team the Confidence and Security They Deserve Agilent Resolve Raman Handheld Through-Barrier Identification When you’re dealing with hazardous materials, there’s no margin for error. The Agilent Resolve system gives you accurate identification of chemicals and mixtures through sealed opaque containers, reducing the risks involved and improving operational efficiency. – Identification through opaque and colored plastics, dark glass, paper, and fabric – No need to open or disturb suspect objects – No risk of exposure to hazardous narcotics like fentanyl – Explosion risks are significantly reduced through unique laser technology

© Agilent Technologies, Inc. 2018

Learn more and request a demo at: www.agilent.com/chem/resolve


2 01 8

MANCHESTER ONE YEAR ON Can lessons be learned?


CIT Y DESTROYERS Vehicle-borne attacks September 2018




ONE STEP AHEAD Green is for chlorates

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CBNW Xplosive 2018  

CBNW Xplosive 2018  

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