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SPECIAL REPORT

Advanced Military Frontline Fortification and Barrier Solutions Check Point and Base Camp Construction Techniques and Standards Frontline Fortifications and Barriers – Change is Relative‌. The American Dilemma on Force Protection and Counter Insurgency 21st Century Frontline Barriers and Fortification Newer Barrier Materials and Technologies Next Generation Combat Engineering and Force Protection

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Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT

Advanced Military Frontline Fortification and Barrier Solutions Check Point and Base Camp Construction Techniques and Standards

SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Contents

Frontline Fortifications and Barriers – Change is Relative…. The American Dilemma on Force Protection and Counter Insurgency 21st Century Frontline Barriers and Fortification Newer Barrier Materials and Technologies

Foreword

2

Mary Dub, Editor

Next Generation Combat Engineering and Force Protection

Check Point and Base Camp Construction Techniques and Standards

3

Hesco Bastion Ltd Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dub Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

Working to Standards An Unconventional Solution Differing Attitudes to Risk The HESCO Mil 11 Other Factors That Could Benefit From Standardisation Hesco Bastion Ltd

Frontline Fortifications and Barriers – Change is Relative...

7

Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

Permanent or Field Distinction? Construction of First Barriers and Fortification is One of the Most Vulnerable Periods for Armed Forces What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong…. Styles of Fortification Change as Warfare Changes Why are Military Operations in Cities so Difficult?

The American Dilemma on Force Protection and Counter Insurgency

10

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Clear-Hold-Build

21st Century Frontline Barriers and Fortification

11

Meredith LLewelyn, Lead Contributor

Will the Afghan National Forces Follow the Same Method?

Newer Barrier Materials and Technologies

12

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Force Protection for the Netcentric Soldier Force Protection for Combat and Civilian Uses

Next Generation Combat Engineering and Force Protection

13

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Risks That the Latest Barrier Technologies are Designed to Withstand Factors that Weigh Heavily in Decision Making Higher Protection from Stackable Units The Highest Protection from Overhead Blast Proofing for the Most MissionCritical Assets

References

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Foreword

N

o war fighter would ever dismiss the critical

Through first hand reports from soldiers on the

importance of force protection on operations.

ground recorded by a US army military historian,

This Special Report looks at the subtleties of force

it details the pressures on ISAF combat engineers

protection and the demands it makes on combat

forces to deliver force protection.

engineers to provide a fast, effective and secure

The third article reflects the conflicts, not to say

protection from blast and secondary fragmentation.

bitter irony, of the force protection dilemma faced

The opening piece of the Report looks at the

in counter insurgency, where vulnerability can

different types of base camps and checkpoints

become the mechanism for establishing trust, at

and discusses the benefits of standardization in

a potentially high cost in soldiers’ lives.

erecting force protection structures. Knowledge

As we progress down the timeline to the 2014

of numerous factors such as threat intelligence

drawdown from Afghanistan, the medium-term

and weapons systems is essential in determining

future of force protection is considered with all

the most appropriate protection and method to

the attendant uncertainties about the future

use, depending upon local circumstances. The

budget for Afghan National Forces and negotiations

article goes on to highlight the different attitude to

with the Taliban.

risk among different countries and contrasts the

In the tailpiece of the Report, a combat engineer,

effectiveness of hardened bunkers against flimsy

recently returned from Iraq, writes about his

tent accommodation. Throughout, the emphasis

experience in commanding force protection

is on the use of the correct material which, while

provision. He debates the relative advantages of

giving protection, does not increase the effect of

many of the most used products.

the weaponry against which it is defending. The second piece looks at the complex logistical challenges of providing force protection in the hostile and diverse territory of Afghanistan.

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager. Focused by a Masters in War Studies from King’s College, London, she annotates and highlights the interplay of armies, governments and industry.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Check Point and Base Camp Construction Techniques and Standards Hesco Bastion Ltd

A VERY SMALL AND VERY REMOTE BASE

O

NE OF the first things that must be known about the above subject is that it may have a vastly different definition for one person to the next, depending where you are, who you are and where you are from. This article remains general in its content and non specific; this is to avoid some readers saying “well we don’t do it like that” The first issue to address is what is a base camp and what is a checkpoint? Funnily enough, for me, even as a military person the first thing that springs to mind when asked “what is a base camp?” is the one at the base of Mt Everest! Clearly that is not what is meant here. So for the purpose of this short article I shall regard a base camp as a camp where formed bodies of men (or women) operate from and return to on a regular basis. So a patrol base, forward operating base, combat outpost or main operating base would be included here. Of course, the difference between base camps is replicated when discussing check points. These can be a hastily erected and operated VCP on a main route or the massive and permanent structures with their elaborate and complex network of routes and search bays at very large military bases over the world. We shall exclude from this article the short term snap VCP that are often used.

article. There is not, as far as I am aware, a unified set of standards for force protection structures and for the construction of a base camp – perhaps there should be an “ISO” for protective structures! Many countries, either individually or in collaboration, carry out a good deal of research and testing but, of course, this is directed at what they believe their threats are, and at what level of protection they believe they require. There is STANAG 2280, which has gone some way to providing a standard, but I would argue that, if you presented this to most NATO engineers as the required standard, they would look at you with a blank expression! I believe that standards should be set by the type and location of the operation, so I think it is useful for the force protection engineer to have a variety of standards to choose from. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is seldom the case. I would much rather that FP Engineers have a good overall force protection knowledge (not solely restricted to Force Protection Engineering), and the ability to interpret threat intelligence, have good knowledge of weapon systems and their effects, have an extensive force protection product knowledge and a sound knowledge of basic construction techniques. This will then allow them to select the most appropriate protection and method for the local circumstances. I suppose the standard here is “what level of residual risk is acceptable?” It could be a standard set by a nation, but this

Working to Standards We then move onto the standards section, which is the main issue I shall discuss in this

A RATHER COMPLEX BUT STILL AUSTERE CAMP WITH RUDIMENTARY CHECKPOINT

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Many countries, either individually or in collaboration, carry out a good deal of research and testing but, of course, this is directed at what they believe their threats are, and at what level of protection they believe they require.

would then allow the FP Engineer to decide how he achieves that. All of this should result in the most appropriate protective structures being chosen, taking into account all the relevant issues including such mundane issues as “can we get fill material?” and if so “what is it?”

An Unconventional Solution I have seen a very good example of a “Combat Engineer “using his FP knowledge to construct a force protection structure which I am certain would not have conformed to any standard. The scenario – a small combat outpost on top of a hill, only accessible by air or by foot. The threat to the base is therefore from hand-carried weapon systems only, with no significant blast load likely. The problem, of course, is that the base still needs protection, and although he has a supply of the ubiquitous ‘Hesco Mil 1’ unit, he has no obvious fill material. However he is surrounded by rocks, and so the very ingenious Combat Engineer (‘improvise and overcome’ is the Engineer’s motto), then decides that rocks are excellent against RPG and small arms fire and the risk of secondary fragmentation is minimal. So he cuts the Hesco units in half to reduce their width and the amount of rock he needs, gathers some rocks, and fills the units to provide the required protection – genius! (the geotextile was removed when the unit was reduced in width). This Engineer’s actions even lead to amendments in our construction guidance. However, although a simple and effective solution, you can rest assured it would not have complied with any national or international standard had one been set. I am certain that on more than one occasion he had to explain his actions.

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Differing Attitudes to Risk One of the other issues relating to standards is that different countries have differing attitudes to risk. This is neither an accusation nor a slight on any particular nation’s forces. On the contrary, merely that some nations spend more time and effort at the outset of the operation providing the maximum protection that they believe may be required for the duration of their forces’ stay. Others ‘go light’ at the outset and then react to an escalating threat by retro fitting protective measures. This has led to an interesting contrast in the same base, where you have one contingent living and working in hardened bunkers with a minimum of 1m of soil cover for side walls and roofs, and a contingent next door living and working in tents! In 2007, this led to the UK forces rapidly trying to harden their accommodation as the insurgents mounted their nightly attacks on the bases in Basra, whilst the Danish Forces, on the other hand, just sat tight in their bunkers which would have withstood a nuclear holocaust (well probably not, but you get the drift!). Worse still, at that time, many forces could not adapt the layout of their camps to allow force protection barriers to be installed because all the service items such as drainage, power and water were set lengths. I would hasten to add that that is not now the case.

The HESCO Mil 11 Of course, being a Brit, I strongly argue that the UK is one of the most proactive with regards to searching out new technologies and methods, and is continually looking for new ways of providing competent and innovative force protection solutions for their deployed


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

forces. For example, a recent set of trials has proved that a very narrow soil-filled HESCO unit can provide an impressive level of protection from fragmentation from a 107mm and 120mm mortar round when it impacts and detonates in close proximity to the wall. HESCO have recently developed the new unit to meet these criteria. Designated the Mil 11, It is only 0.3m deep, 1.2m tall and 1.2m long and is ideal for compartmentalisation, particularly in areas where there is very limited space. This unit is completely recoverable and reusable and, of course, can be covered in a tarpaulin type material to provide a clean wall should there be a need.

Other Factors That Could Benefit From Standardisation Needless to say, there are a various other issues that must be addressed and perhaps these should have some degree of standardisation. Entry Control Points, depending on size, must be built with sufficient search bays, badging offices, by-pass lanes and vehicle reject lanes. In addition, it is important that the correct material is used in their construction. Care must always be taken to ensure that the material used does not increase the effect of the potential device by becoming significant secondary fragmentation. If material such as concrete is used, then the ECP should be far enough way from occupied areas so that possible secondary fragmentation will not be an issue. Far safer, I believe, to use soil filled structures. I’m guessing that many reading this article will be disappointed that I have not provided definitive guidance on standards and construction techniques. My conclusion is that they just

MIL 11 UNIT

do not exist. However, what I hope this article may do is to ignite a debate as to whether or not we require a set of standards to be created and implemented.

Hesco Bastion Ltd Hesco Bastion Ltd manufacture and supply the ubiquitous Hesco Concertainer unit as well as other force protection structures such as bunkers and redeployable security fence solutions, many designed specifically for expeditionary operations. Further information on the range of Hesco products can be obtained from info@hesco.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Frontline Fortifications and Barriers – Change is Relative…. Marushka Dubova, Defence Correspondent

“Why build a wall when Mother Nature has built one for you?” Major Mark Gasparotto, Kandahar 23 Field Squadron, Canada 20101

For the war fighter, the ultimate strategic barrier is a mountain range or impassable river, which has provided border protection for states for PHOTOGRAPHER: SPC TIA SOKIMSON, US ARMY

many centuries.

Members of Afghanistan National Security Forces fill HESCO with rocks to build a defensive position at Out Post Fawlad in Naray District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, November 2011. The reconstruction operation is part of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 27 Infantry Division Task Force No Fear’s mission to set up an over-watch, enabling ANSF to rebuild OP Fawlad after it was overrun by the Taliban last June.

T

HE CRITICAL and strategic role of frontline fortifications and barriers against insurgents has a longstanding and permanent legacy in the built environment of historic towns and cities throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. There is a certain irony that the construction of the Great Wall of China in the 8th century BC has a great deal in common with frontline fortification methods used in the 21st century in Afghanistan, i.e. the use of rammed earth on the plains and local rocks in the mountainous regions. For the war fighter, the ultimate strategic barrier is a mountain range or impassable river, which has provided border protection for states for many centuries. What vertiginous terrain or fast flowing water 6 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

lack in effectiveness can be reinforced by below freezing temperatures which make frozen earth hard to use as a barrier even with modern earth moving technologies and explosives.

Permanent or Field Distinction? For today’s combat engineers working for the ISAF coalition in Afghanistan or elsewhere on disaster relief or humanitarian work, there is one key distinction when building frontline fortifications at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) or headquarters: whether a base is to be a permanent or temporary field construction. Douglas R. Cubbison2 describes the difficulties in one region of Afghanistan, building temporary force protection for several FOBs in Nuristan as part of the counter insurgency operation. First,


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

he follows the ancient Sun Tsu admonition in the “Art of War” to know the enemy and how he is fortifying himself: “The area is spectacularly rugged, and is divided into numerous small river valleys separated by steep mountain ridges routinely in excess of 10,000 feet. The Waigal Valley is located within two Afghan provinces, Nuristan to the north, and Kunar Province to the south. The provincial boundary is located approximately one kilometer south of Wanat within the Waigal Valley. All of the valleys of Nuristan, the Waigal Valley not excepted, are rocky, deep, narrow and steep sided, most of them classic examples of V-shaped valleys.” One international observer simply stated: “The terrain is mountainous, indeed, this is one of the most topographically forbidding operating environments in the world. 3 Furthermore, they (the Safi Pashtun) have reinforced the natural advantages of the mountainous terrain with ancient inexpensive and highly effective measures:” The Safi Pashtun of the Pech Valley typically reside in compounds, which the English Army in the 19th century consistently referred to as “Forts.” These compounds are enclosed by sturdy walls, sun dried over decades to assume the consistency and strength of concrete, and with firing platforms and observation towers incorporated into their design.4 To hold and quell the counter insurgency, two FOBs were constructed for the United States 1-32 Mountain Infantry and its successors, 2-503rd Airborne Infantry. The troops arrived with little if any cultural familiarization or language training.5 Insufficient time was available for any focused mountain training or mountain warfare preparations, to include high altitude acclimatization, mountaineering equipment acquisition or specialized physical fitness training.6 However, they got on with the job. They prepared and built the FOB.

Construction of First Barriers and Fortification is One of the Most Vulnerable Periods for Armed Forces Any new military installation is at its most vulnerable in the first few days of its inception. At this time, protective barriers such as HESCOs and stone walls are still under construction, defensive positions such as guard towers and FOB entrances are still being established, defensive obstacles such as concertinas are being installed, fields of fire are being cleared, the best possible positions for heavy weapons systems are still being identified, permanent and redundant communications are being established. A certain amount of confusion is

attendant as heavy construction is underway, and different contractors and workers circulate through the new installation. And the vulnerability of the build was exacerbated by poor intelligence and weak risk assessments so the men were working without potable water and local ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) surveillance by UAVs.

What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong... The use of heavy equipment, outside local contractors and the very real threat of hostile action at the moment of build, created significant difficulties for the coalition forces. The details offered by Cubbison from firsthand accounts is revelatory: “The logistical approach was for COP Kahler to be constructed by a Jalalabad-based Afghan construction company, with CHChinook helicopter flights delivering specialized supply loads such as the ANA (Afghan National Army), 120mm mortar tube and Engineers’ equipment. Accompanying the construction company were intended to be several LN “ Jingle” trucks carrying the majority of the logistical supplies necessary for COP Kahler, recognizing that even five heavily laden HMMWVs could not carry everything that the 2nd Platoon required. Unfortunately, there were problems with the construction company, including lack of a Route Clearance Package to ensure that the road from Blessing to Wanat (which had been the location of several previous IED attacks) was safe, and a lack of a combat escort to enable them to safely move into Wanat. ‘Chosen Company’ had never worked with this Afghan construction company before. At one time, several trucks actually began moving to Wanat, but turned around before arrival, complaining (almost certainly truthfully) that: “...the AAF (Anti Afghanistan Force) were watching the road.” This complex logistical plan required an Afghan construction company to work to a meticulous time schedule in coordination with an American Route Clearance Package and combat escort between Camp Blessing and Wanat.”7 The two forward bases were constructed as planned but after several weeks of high intensity warfare and a high level of casualties on both sides the FOBs were abandoned as the counter insurgency had deteriorated in the area. They were replaced by UAV activity.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

While the complexity of modern FOB construction reflects the reality of 21st century ISAF counter insurgency methods in Afghanistan, strategic changes in PHOTOGRAPHER: WO GARETH DAVIES, RAF An Afghan National Army soldier looks out from behind his HESCO barrier over the Morghab Valley, Afghanistan.

types of fortification have responded to advances in warfare techniques.

to advances in warfare techniques. The advent of mediaeval cannon, and in the 19th century of explosive shells, has changed methods of fortification. The supremacy of American air command with the use of missiles and bunker busting bombs has made almost all forms of fortification vulnerable to direct attack. The threat of nuclear war after 1945 changed the stakes again and forced a trend in the 20th century towards concrete bunkers and deep underground tunnels. The director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) noted before the United States Congress in 2006 that deep underground tunnels are still not vulnerable to American military action, while insurgents who choose combat in a built urban environment inhabited by noncombatants leave the most technologically equipped army in the world constrained.

Why are Military Operations in Cities so Difficult? As Dr. Tony Tether, Director of DARPA explained: “Cities are filled with buildings, alleys, and interlocking tunnels, which provide practically limitless places to hide, store weapons, and maneuver. Cities are hubs of transportation, information, and commerce, and they are homes for a nation’s financial, political, and cultural institutions. Cities are densely packed with people and their property. Adversaries can mix in among the people and property, using them as shields to limit our military options. And insurgents don’t just mix in, they blend in, making it even harder. In 8 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

this environment, our current war fighting technology that works so superbly in the open and even in the rugged natural terrain of the traditional battlefield is less effective. Our current standoff reconnaissance technology was simply not designed for urban environments. Our weapon systems are not as precise as we would like, and our vehicles and tactics that work so effectively in the open are not optimized for close-quarter operations.”8


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

The American Dilemma on Force Protection and Counter Insurgency Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

“Sometimes, the more you protect your force, the less secure you may be” Field Manual 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5, PP1-27 15 December 2006

Clear-Hold-Build

PHOTOGRAPHER: WO2 GLENN HARTWELL, BRITISH ARMY A group of Royal Engineers fix a roadside culvert. Taken while serving on Operation Herrick 15 with Engr Fd Sqn 2, 29 AES, 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers.

T

he force protection dilemma in counter insurgency, ”Sometimes, the more you protect your force, the less secure you may be” is a bitter truth that points to the very nub of the purpose of counter insurgency operations, which is to quell the insurgency. How? The American field manual explains: “Ultimate success in COIN is gained by protecting the populace, not the COIN force. If military forces remain in their compounds, they lose touch with the people, appear to be running scared, and cede the initiative to the insurgents. Aggressive saturation patrolling, ambushes, and listening post operations must be conducted, risk shared with the populace, and contact maintained. The effectiveness of establishing patrol bases and operational support bases should be weighed against the effectiveness of using larger unit bases. These practices ensure access to the intelligence needed to drive operations. Following them reinforces the connections with the populace that help establish real legitimacy.”

The essential vulnerability, pattern of communication between local population and counter insurgency forces and emerging trust, is the effective counter insurgency mechanism. This is followed according to the theory by stabilisation operations, which again need rapid transitional housing for schools, community centres and health clinics. These can be built out of the same materials as the reinforcements for FOBs. But as Cubbison explains, in many areas the ISAF forces were not doing this, for instance in the Waigal valley in Nuristan, for lack of training and leadership. “We also didn’t go off the FOB unless there was a patrol” one trooper reported, and “We didn’t interact with them as a soldier goes. We just pulled security mostly and they didn’t come near us and we didn’t go near them.” Even when serving together with an ANA (Afghan National Army) Company at Wanat, there was almost no interaction bet ween the A N A soldiers and the Paratroopers except at the leadership and E T T level. Similarly, throughout the campaign there was ver y limited interaction between the Paratroopers and the Waigal Valley population, except at the leadership level. The result of this lack of positive interaction was a very high level of intensity of combat and many coalition soldiers killed. The high level of kinetic operations also left many local dead, increasing the level of counter insurgency operations. The FOB had to be abandoned because of the problems of resupply and was replaced by UAV activity.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

21st Century Frontline Barriers and Fortification Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

“In Force Protection ‘completion’ is a relative concept’, whereby you never seem to complete the upgrading of a FOB or a battle position” Major Mark Gasparotto, Kandahar 23 Field Squadron, Canadian 2010

Many local contractors may hope that the ANF will follow the same policy of using local labour and contractors to reinforce coalition forces troops and their equipment.

W

riting in early 2012 when the handover to Afghan National Forces is in process, and the timeline for the drawdown of 33,000 American forces has recently been pulled forward to fall 2012 with more to leave in 20139, it is a difficult to foresee how a largely Afghan government led armed force will use frontline fortifications in the medium term. However, the current trend towards using local contractors to implement frontline fortifications and barriers may well continue. Major Mark Gasparotto of the 23rd Field Squadron, based at Kandahar described in 2010 the complexity for the trained combat engineers in building force protection and barriers for FOBs. They were tasked with building a small base: “To construct a small FOB” at Ma’sum Ghar for A company and a large one in the vicinity of Pashmul for the Afghan National Army Garrison. “A task that would take 4 months.” In the process of building, the engineers took many casualties and, as they worked, the task changed from building a new base to “to improving natural defensive features offered by Ma’sum Ghar”.10 The work required heavy machinery and: “Because of the condition of our own heavy equipment, we attempted to hire civilian contractors to perform force protection works at Patrol Base Wilson. None would accept the very lucrative contracts offered due to Taliban threats of retribution and intense violence in the area.”11 ISAF forces rented D8 dozers from locals at a very lucrative rate, to which they added welded steel plates a process they called “Mad Maxing”. During their use they needed “two Route Clearance Packages in support of the mission”. Part of their mission was to clear ground of the dried mud walls built to fortify and define boundaries of Afghan fields and compounds, a process they found extremely taxing because “a mud wall bordered each field” and around every

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PHOTOGRAPHER: SSGT MARK BURRELL, US ARMY A 120mm mortar round flies out of the launcher as mortar-men assigned to Troop C, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Bandits, take cover while at Observation Post Mustang in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, 2011. “It gets pretty intense sometimes when firing, especially if a firefight is going on,” said one of the mortar-men.

building was a wall “one metre thick and one and half metres wide”. They eventually changed the nature of the task and built around the natural defensive features that the Afghans had left.12

Will the Afghan National Forces Follow the Same Method? Many local contractors may hope that the ANF will follow the same policy of using local labour and contractors to reinforce coalition forces troops and their equipment. Whether they will be able to afford to do so at the same rate in the medium term will be determined by the rate of funding from Congress, the success of negotiations with the Taliban and the type of settlement that can be achieved in the disparate regions of Afghanistan. What is almost certain is that the high levels of spending will be diminished as the United States tries to reduce its financial and military commitment to the country.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Newer Barrier Materials and Technologies Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

PHOTOGRAPHER: WO GARETH DAVIES, RAF An RAF Merlin helicopter takes off in a cloud of dust from Patrol Base Shazad, Helmand Province.

T

he type of fortification installed and its particular features have developed markedly with changes in the way that modern counterinsurgency practices have developed. While Leonardo da Vinci drew pictures of gabions made of wickerwork that could be filled with earth and rubble for rapid fortification of renaissance military fortifications, 21st century gabions are frequently made from wire mesh for permanence. Some manufacturers like Defencell offer packs, which are man – portable and provide a lower logistical footprint. One cubic meter of packed defence cell will make 100 cubic metres of barrier. They offer a multifunctional unit that can be used for low fragmentation force protection which provides interior walls, tent compartmentalization, containerized housing units (CHUs), and critical asset protection, alongside larger gabion perimeter walls. Their flexibility is such that they can be used as vehicle barriers, guard post protection and checkpoints.

Force Protection for the Netcentric Soldier An essential feature of next generation gabions and material is that it does not cause radio frequency interference and it does not affect IED detection or jamming. A further key feature for high intensity conflict is that it reduces the risk of secondary fragmentation, so that in the event of a hit, the injuries incurred by the soldier are not

worse than if there had been no protection at all. HESCO Bastion also offers the Concertainer unit. This has properties which include a medium-term life span of 3 years, advanced ground stabilization and a polypropylene geotextile skin. The combination of its polypropylene geotextile skin and the natural properties of the fill material ensure ventilation and waterproofing and facilitate thermal regulation in all climates.

Force Protection for Combat and Civilian Uses The process of successful counter insurgency requires forces to go through a 3 step process of Clear, Hold and Build. The value of modern gabions is that they can be used at all stages of the process. While HESCOS have become an integral part of FOBs they are also a valuable tool in creating transitional housing, building schools or clinics or community centres, which are critical for the ‘Build’ stage of counter insurgency operations. As the Afghan operation approaches handover to the Afghan government forces, the gabions will still have a role in disaster recovery operation and civilian operations. The United States army used them after the earthquake in Haiti with the dual role of armed forces in disaster recovery and civilian support in emergency. The gabions and force protection also have high functional value in flood control or protection of critical national infrastructure. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

Next Generation Combat Engineering and Force Protection Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

“There is a military saying that you join the Royal Engineers, travel the world, meet new and interesting people and then surround them in HESCO”. Major Sean Matten, Royal Engineers 201013

The highest levels of blast and fragmentation protection at the right price have been the primary consideration for ISAF Combat Engineer Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan facing extreme violence.

T

he highest levels of blast and fragmentation protection at the right price have been the primary consideration for ISAF Combat Engineer Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan facing extreme violence. And many ISAF coalition countries use HESCO barrier products. The type of force protection provided has to be constructed at operation tempo to mitigate vulnerability whether creating a vital sanger, a perimeter fence or a blast mitigated command headquarters with overhead protection. Force Protection covers not just troops, but in a COB (Contingency Operating Base) securit y for aircraf t, fuel supplies, ammunition and communication equipment. Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have used HESCO extensively: “HESCO has delivered approximately 90% of Force Protection capability in Iraq since 2003.”14 HESCO barrier products have also been used extensively by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other international institutions, like the UN and embassies. HESCO is such a frequently used product that its name has become a generic term. As Major Sean Matten describes: “It is omnipresent in every modern battlefield. It is flexible, and offers superb protection from horizontal blast and fragmentation if filled correctly with effective spoil. Hundreds of metres of HESCO can be delivered with very little transport needed; four trucks of flatpacked material, with the addition of locally won fill, would cover a hundred metres. It is easy to store and its ease of assembly makes it ideal for short-notice tasks. In addition, it only requires a front-loading piece of plant like a JCB to fill it with locally-sourced spoil.”15

The Risks That the Latest Barrier Technologies are Designed to Withstand The commanding combat engineer has a formidable task to mitigate the risks of 21st 12 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

century counter insurgency forces and terrorists. Government officials and NGOs are as easy targets for counter insurgents as soldiers in a conflict where civilians can present as valuable a target as military personnel. Barriers and frontline fortification have to be able to withstand initial and secondary blast damage plus fragmentation that can be as injurious as the first impact. Only some of the highest specification protective products on the market can withstand 81mm mortar rounds and 155 mm quick-fused artillery shells, and rocket fire up to 30 NEQ (Net Explosive Quantity).

Factors that Weigh Heavily in Decision Making Where cost and speed of emplacement are primary concerns, the latest designs can help. HESCO products can challenge the time it takes men to fill sandbags dramatically by offering long concertinaed gabions that can be erected by two men in a very short period with little training. The latest products can even be placed on uneven terrain. Earth, small stones, rocks, gravel, coarse sand, concrete, and aggregates can be used for the counterweight fill. Some types of fill do not work, for example, large rocks, large unbreakable pieces of earth, light sand, dust or snow. The coverings offered for gabions are welded zincaluminium coated steel wire mesh joined with vertical, helical coil joints. The units are lined with a heavy-duty non-woven polypropylene geotextile, which contains the fill. There was evidence that the effect of UV light diminished the life cycle of the polypropylene, but new treatment has addressed the problem and made the propylene more durable.

Higher Protection from Stackable Units Not all areas to be protected have a constant risk factor. The height of the protective enclosure can be raised by stacking the units, so the


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

PHOTOGRAPHER: LT BRIAN GLEESON, US ARMY The Taliban were attacking with small arms fire from the mountains and fields around us. US Forces were denying the enemy the use of that mountainous terrain by shooting this 120mm mortar on to the mountain tops. However, the Taliban manoeuvred to the fields and began shooting at the mortar team. They had to stay as low as possible, behind the HESCO barrier, to keep from getting shot. The HESCO took a lot of bullets that day, but our guys all walked out of there a little dustier, but unscathed.

latest HESCO gabions offer scalability and potential upgrading should risk levels escalate. Similarly, many newly designed HESCO units are recyclable and can be moved for use elsewhere. The reduction in the logistical footprint of fortification structures is strategic, so many structures are packed into easily stacked and transportable ISO units to reduce the level of truck movements, forklift truck use and manpower for loading and unloading. And of course the ISO units once empty can be used for another purpose.

The Highest Protection from Overhead Blast Proofing for the Most Mission-Critical Assets It is for the overhead protection of critical assets such as command headquarters and ammunition stores that the latest technologies have been employed. A new locating cup designed by the British company QinetiQ, allows the ubiquitous ISO container to become the supportive roof of a blast proof structure. “A specially designed and manufactured locating cup is fitted to the four corners of an ISO container frame or similarly configured product. These cups provide the central support to the steel roof beams. The roof beams in turn locate into the Concertainer units.�16 This Extended Overhead Protection reduces risk from VBIED (Vehicle Bourne Improvised Explosive Devices) and targeted mortar and rocket attacks. While in some areas, Alaska and the smaller Jersey concrete barriers can offer easy crane positioning for some perimeter fencing, they have limited flexibility and often a higher

The proven value of the next generation HESCO products backed by the latest technologies in material and engineering science present tried and tested proven force protection against an opposing force that can never be underestimated. logistical footprint. The proven value of the next generation HESCO products backed by the latest technologies in material and engineering science present tried and tested proven force protection against an opposing force that can never be underestimated. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED MILITARY FRONTLINE FORTIFICATION AND BARRIER SOLUTIONS

References: 1

Clearing the Way: Combat Engineers in Kandahar 23 Field Squadron Author – Edited by Major Mark Gasparotto. 2010, ISBN softcover 978-1-926582-54-2, hard cover ISBN 978-1-925582-55-9

2

Douglas R. Cubbison is a Military Historian with the Research and Publication Team, U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He previously served as the Command Historian with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/.../ M11470421119.PDF – United States

3

Douglas R. Cubbison is a Military Historian with the Research and Publication Team, U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He previously served as the Command Historian with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/.../ M11470421119.PDF – United States

4

Douglas R. Cubbison is a Military Historian with the Research and Publication Team, U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He previously served as the Command Historian with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/.../ M11470421119.PDF – United States

5

Douglas R. Cubbison is a Military Historian with the Research and Publication Team, U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He previously served as the Command Historian with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/.../ M11470421119.PDF – United States

6

Douglas R. Cubbison is a Military Historian with the Research and Publication Team, U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He previously served as the Command Historian with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/.../ M11470421119.PDF – United States

7

Douglas R. Cubbison is a Military Historian with the Research and Publication Team, U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He previously served as the Command Historian with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/.../ M11470421119.PDF – United States

8

Statement by Dr. Tony Tether, Director Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Submitted to the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities House Armed Services Committee United States House of Representatives March 29, 2006

9

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13893464 23 June 2011, BBC News

10

p.75 Clearing the Way; Combat Engineers in Kandahar 23 Field Squadron Edited by Major Mark Gasparotto. 2010, ISBN softcover 978-1-926582-54-2, hard cover ISBN 978-1-925582-55-9.

11

p.38 Clearing the Way; Combat Engineers in Kandahar 23 Field Squadron Edited by Major Mark Gasparotto. 2010, ISBN softcover 978-1-926582-54-2, hard cover ISBN 978-1-925582-55-9.

12

p.38 Clearing the Way; Combat Engineers in Kandahar 23 Field Squadron Edited by Major Mark Gasparotto. 2010, ISBN softcover 978-1-926582-54-2, hard cover ISBN 978-1-925582-55-9.

13

Major Sean Matten, Royal Engineers: http://www.ingenia.org.uk/ingenia/issues/issue37/matten_basra.pdf

14

Major Sean Matten, Royal Engineers: http://www.ingenia.org.uk/ingenia/issues/issue37/matten_basra.pdf

15

Major Sean Matten, Royal Engineers: http://www.ingenia.org.uk/ingenia/issues/issue37/matten_basra.pdf

16

http://www.hesco.com/prod_eops.asp

14 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM


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Special Report – Advanced Military Frontline Fortification and Barrier Solutions  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advanced Military Frontline Fortification and Barrier Solutions

Special Report – Advanced Military Frontline Fortification and Barrier Solutions  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advanced Military Frontline Fortification and Barrier Solutions