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Old 01-20-2006   #21
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Default Military Backs Off On Claim That Insurgents Are Using Aerial IEDs

20 Jan. Stars and Stripes - Military Backs Off On Claim That Insurgents Are Using Aerial IEDs.

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The military is backing away from an initial claim that insurgents are using aerial improvised explosive devices to attack U.S. helicopters.

Defense News first reported Monday that insurgents were setting off rooftop-planted devices that leap 50 feet into the air and spray shrapnel as U.S. helicopters pass by.

In the story, Brig. Gen. Edward Sinclair, commander of the Army’s Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., said insurgents had used aerial IEDs against several U.S. helicopters, but an official later said this was not the case.

“At this time, we do not know of any incidences of insurgents employing aerial IEDs against U.S. helicopters. No aircraft have been lost to this type of device,” said a spokeswoman for the Defense Department task force working to defeat IEDs.

Multi-National Force-Iraq also has no information on reports of aerial IED attacks and would not release specific information on IED attacks due to security concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Other officials spoke about aerial IEDs in general and hypothetical terms...
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Old 02-24-2006   #22
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Default DOD Eyes New Approach To Avoid Iraqi Roadside Bombs

24 Feb. Inside Defense....

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The Defense Department is considering a new, low-tech approach to countering roadside bombs that are the scourge of U.S. forces in Iraq -- construct new roads for supply convoys that simply bypass densely populated, high-threat areas.

The Army is seeking $167 million in military construction funds as part of the Pentagon’s soon-to-be detailed $65.3 billion supplemental spending request for fiscal year 2006 to pave roads capable of supporting two-way traffic, complete with shoulders, drainage structures and interchanges to connect with existing supply routes, according to a draft version of the request.

Rather than trying to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs) head-on with new technologies and tactics, the Defense Department is looking to reduce risk to convoys by charting routes around danger zones...
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Old 02-24-2006   #23
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Default bad idea

While maybe just a gut reaction, this sounds like one of the more idiotic and expensive courses of action that we have contemplated or attempted. During my time in Iraq, regardless of how many IEDs we recovered, how many hours we spent patrolling and clearing routes, movement along MSRs was controlled by individuals belonging to Movement Control, who themselves did not participate in clearing operations, nor understood anything other than trying to move things from point A to B. When an IED was discovered on one route, they would simply find another road, and abuse that with traffic until an IED attack, and then find a third route. This cedes routes and entire areas to the insurgents, and prevents freedom of movement and action for ground troops.

Based of this argument, we will build new roads that I assume only US and Iraqi forces can use, thus further alienating the population. The insurgency is the product of long standing grievances that need to be eliminated. By building new roads, we are admitting that we cannot control the current MSRs, and that the insurgents are stronger than we are.

I will continue to argue that they only way to effectively mitigate the IED threat is by persistent infantry patrols and a continued presence.
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Old 02-24-2006   #24
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It sends a great message to the locals about our ability to provide them with security that we cannot even secure our own forces . . . . While there might be certain unique, tactical situations where a new road is the most appropriate solution I'd say that the driving concern should be the welfare of the local people and not the security of our (heavily armed, by comparison) truck drivers. While US public opinion is important in this war, Iraqi public opinion is more so.

Also note the somewhat schizophrenic nature of this action - all the scuttlebutt in the news says that we'll be drawing our forces down sharply in 2006 and yet they want to spend millions of dollars on a project that probably won't even be started this year . . . .
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Old 02-24-2006   #25
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Default We must have more presence.

The biggest problem with the war in Iraq is American public opinion. We do live in a democracy with freedom of speech. We have to start telling the other story if we are to succeed in this Propaganda conflict. Our own media it seems is in support of the insurgency.
Still we must have more troops on the ground and they must over watch all the high traffic areas day and night. If we build new roads and fail to do this simple thing we will simply have the same problem on the new road
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Old 02-24-2006   #26
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It would be funny if it weren't so sad. I cannot believe there is anybody in favor of this even at the DoD.
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Old 02-25-2006   #27
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Thompson, Kitson, and Callwell must be rolling in their graves.

I am quite familiar with the Small Wars Manual 1935 and 1940 editions, and I dont remember the section that says if you cant secure your AO find another one that you can.

Wasnt one of the main issues the British had in 1920 the inability to secure interior lines/lines of communications?

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Old 02-26-2006   #28
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Default Insurgency Tactics Test Helicopters’ Staying Power

March Issue of National Defense - Insurgency Tactics Test Helicopters’ Staying Power.

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Technology so far has proven to be of little use in protecting Army helicopters from the ravages of small arms and rocket propelled grenades, military and civilian experts contend.

The Army has spent nearly $2 billion outfitting helicopters with high-tech sensors and flares that help foil shoulder-launched missiles, but none of these devices can prevent choppers from getting shot out of the sky by rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles, which are among the preferred weapons of Iraq’s insurgency.

“The longer we stay in this conflict, the greater the ability of the insurgents to counter our countermeasures with their technology,” says Steve Greer, a retired Army command sergeant major, and professor of unconventional warfare at American Military University...

While a number of technologies have been proven successful in deflecting shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles, none exists today that can protect from RPGs or standard rifle rounds, Greer says. “There’s no way to defend from small-arms fire other than visual recognition and maneuvering away from the line of fire.”

RPGs and small-arms rounds fall under the category of “dumb munitions,” which are unguided and far more difficult to counter with technical solutions, says Kernan Chaisson, senior electronics analyst at Forecast International, a market intelligence firm.

“You have high-tech protective equipment, but sometimes it doesn’t do you any good,” he says. “It’s a real predicament for aviation. The threat they face, it’s hard to do anything about.”...
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Old 02-26-2006   #29
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Default Helicopters and air support of infantry

While the A-10 may have more armor than helicopters, it also is more difficult to hit with dumb munitions, because of the way it manuevers for attack. Helicopter pilots are probably going to have to adjust their tactics so that they are moving while attacking and not hovering as much. They also will need to attack from different altitudes making it harder for ground fire to get a bead on them. If the choppers can't find away to avoid the dumb ammo their usefulness in attack is going to be greatly restricted. If the Air Force is phasing out the A-10, the Marines should try to pick them up as a close air support weapon.
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Old 02-26-2006   #30
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Some one should get those A-10, they’ll be more useful than F-22s.

Helicopter pilots may need to adjust their tactics in urban areas or anywhere there are an excessive mount of weapons firing at them. Still I think the threat posed to aircraft by things like RPGs is over stated. Small tactical adjustments should be sufficient for them.
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Old 02-27-2006   #31
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A-10's probably shouldn't see much use for attack missions in the Iraq theater of operations - too much collateral damage. In Afghanistan, on the other hand . . .

Traditionally, helicopters are most vulnerable on takeoff and landing - for those situations they'll simply have to exercise a certain degree of tactical caution, e.g. always flying in pairs so that one can cover the other one in case of a shoot down attempt, coordinating with ground forces to watch potential launch sites, consciously randomizing regular flight times and routes etc.

The question is how much effort do we put into helicopter protection? Every dollar we spend on keeping those birds in the air is a dollar that is not spent on reconstruction or training Iraqi soldiers. Both of those activities offer a far greater return in terms of our casualties then some gimmick.
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Old 02-28-2006   #32
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While shoulder-fired missiles are surely a threat to rotary wing assets, and will be a congruent threat to tilt rotar aircraft; ground fire continues to be a major concern. Due to the method we employ rotary wing aircraft, and the fact that they only fly hundreds of feet off the ground, they are all still incredibly vulnerable to simple ground fire from small arms.
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Old 05-29-2006   #33
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Default IEDs the latest RMA?

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In the mid to long run the greatest danger is that their IED techniques, tactics, and procedures will migrate between the various terrorist/insurgent groups, and will eventually be exported elsewhere to support Jihad in say Indonesia or Nigeria. Anyone notice the rapid rise of IED attacks in Afghanistan lately?
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"Threat migration" of TTPs between Iraq and Afghanistan has been going on for a while - but its definitely increased in scale recently. The threat potential of such migration beyond the AOR to targets in the West - let alone places like Indonesia or Nigeria - is serious.
The above quotes were pulled from other posts in this thread. From the perspective of military theory (despite the historical precedent), has the IED become a revolution in military affairs? Following the argument that RMAs can be the revolutionary technology itself (e.g. rifled musket, tank, etc.) I'm inclined to think we have a new RMA for a number of reasons:

- If employed properly, IEDs have an almost David-vs.-Goliath quality that facilitates a certain degree of freedom of maneuver, critical to insurgent ops.

- The powerful imagery of an IED's effects can move around the globe as soon as it is either broadcast on a major news network, or uploaded to a jihadist website. I think that even though the aftermath and ensuing casualties may tell a less dramatic story, the initial shock of the image at detonation is so powerful that it has reached virtually every insurgent/terrorist group around the world. As a result, the how-to of complex IEDs may not have reached other groups, but I believe the IED will become a "keeping up with the Joneses" concern for groups if they do not already possess it the capability.

- We should expect to see IEDs on any future battlefield (Conventional and UW). I firmly believe that if IEDs had been employed with the same tradecraft during the March Up as they are now, we might still be making that movement to Baghdad. The components of an effective IED are all around us in our daily lives, minus the explosive compound (and there are even recipes for that on the Internet).

Althought IEDs have been around for a long, long time, the technological and organizational recommendations for change that are coming out of the OIF/OEF experience, I believe we are witnessing such a revolution. I cannot recall which Marine General officer made the statement, but he spoke of Marines deploying in armored HMMWVs in the future, and that the soft-skin "highbacks" would be a thing of the past if we were to tread into other hostile environments. Any validity behind that statement?

Is the IED just one component of a larger RMA in the works?
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Old 05-30-2006   #34
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Default Ied=pgm

Yes, there is alot of merit to your thinking. As I have said before the enemy is very good at EBO. We use PGM's they use IED's the EFFECT is the same except their's are more cost effective. We have B-2's to hit buildings they highjack airliners again the EFFECT is the same!! Both systems penetrate radar undetected. IED's are precision guided munitions aimed at specific targets. They are stealth people with their own stealth weapons. I would like to see more of your thinking about this because understanding the problem is the first step to solving it. It is sharp thinking that will help us not just technology.
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Old 05-30-2006   #35
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JC, I'm going to reply to your post in pieces.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis
- If employed properly, IEDs have an almost David-vs.-Goliath quality that facilitates a certain degree of freedom of maneuver, critical to insurgent ops.
IEDs represent simply another aspect of partisan, guerrilla, insurgent, asymetric - call it what you will - warfare. "David-vs-Goliath" has always been the quality of such combat. IEDs exemplify the age-old hit-and-run tactic of the ambush, in that if you are going to categorize them in military terms, you'd have to say they are being effectively employed as a mechanical ambush. In and of themselves, despite the efforts we are directing towards countermeasures, their use does not constitute an RMA. However, that brings us to your next points...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis
- The powerful imagery of an IED's effects can move around the globe as soon as it is either broadcast on a major news network, or uploaded to a jihadist website. I think that even though the aftermath and ensuing casualties may tell a less dramatic story, the initial shock of the image at detonation is so powerful that it has reached virtually every insurgent/terrorist group around the world. As a result, the how-to of complex IEDs may not have reached other groups, but I believe the IED will become a "keeping up with the Joneses" concern for groups if they do not already possess it the capability.
I think the key to the quote above is the statement you made at the end of your post: "Is the IED just one component of a larger RMA in the works?". Yes, and that larger RMA is the Information Revolution. There has already been a great deal posted on SWC regarding how the bad guys exploit the internet and other new communications technologies to facilitate their ops, spread their ideology, and distribute TTPs.

Years ago, Hizbollah began exploiting media with regards to IED attacks by having a cameraman with the individual initiating the device film the incident to show on local TV the same day. Now, that propaganda effect is multiplied exponentially by the bad guys' ability to post the vid on the 'net for viewing worldwide just as soon as they can upload it.

But that's just the propaganda piece - it goes well beyond that. I already discussed how modern communications tech facilitates dispersed, compartmented cellular ops in the post above yours. But, as you're already aware, it also facilitates sharing of TTPs with non-related groups to a degree not seen before. Insurgents, terrorists and revolutionaries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa - as long as they have 'net access - can exploit lessons learned in Iraq fighting against the world's superpower and put it into even greater effect in their own AO. This has the potential to provide a qualitative evolutionary leap in ops to a nascent or struggling group. As you stated, the material requirements are not great (and IEDs do not need to be "complex" to be effective). But the only thing in favor of regimes facing such a potential threat is that it requires a certain degree of intelligence and previous operational experience in order to effectively apply those TTPs in a new context. Thus far, we've only seen relatively limited threat migration. But I don't expect that situation to last.

Finally, as an aside:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis
- We should expect to see IEDs on any future battlefield (Conventional and UW). I firmly believe that if IEDs had been employed with the same tradecraft during the March Up as they are now, we might still be making that movement to Baghdad.
I concur in that we must take IEDs into consideration in the planning stages for any future op. However, I disagree with you on the point about the March Up to Baghdad. IEDs are not very effective against a rapidly advancing combined arms maneuver force on a conventional battlefield (even if they have to deal with unconventional attacks en-route to the objective). Once that force occupies the objective, and has established patrol routes and static areas of responsibility in the effort to establish post-conflict stability and security, then it becomes vulnerable to IEDs.
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Old 05-30-2006   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcustis
The above quotes were pulled from other posts in this thread. From the perspective of military theory (despite the historical precedent), has the IED become a revolution in military affairs? Following the argument that RMAs can be the revolutionary technology itself (e.g. rifled musket, tank, etc.) I'm inclined to think we have a new RMA for a number of reasons:

/.../

Is the IED just one component of a larger RMA in the works?
I wouldn't go as far as that. IED itself isn't that new concept. During WW2 Japanese used burried arty shells to destroy US tanks. Soviets put explosives on dogs and trained them to run under enemy tanks. In Vietnam Vietnamese used unexploded munitions to make mines. And IED is just a more complex mine.

Jedburgs mentioned Hezbollah. I think that if you would study Hezbollah's evolution of IED use and compare it with Iraq you'd see same trends, from simple to complex, starting at similar position and taking similar stps. Only that Hezbollah's IEDs don't evolve as much (at least not under battlefield conditions) while in Iraq they do because there are constantantly developing counter-measures.

Are IED new RMA or part of it? IMO no. I see thm as next step in evolution of perticular weapons system. Same way as longbow (the one with arrows, not Hellfire missiles ) wasn't RMA but simply next step in evolution of a bow.
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Old 06-25-2006   #37
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Default Precision-Made Mine That Has Killed 17 British Troops

25 June London Daily Telegraph - Precision-Made Mine That Has Killed 17 British Troops.



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The first picture of an Iraqi insurgent mine, believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 17 British soldiers, has been obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.

The device, which has been used by insurgents throughout Iraq since May last year, fires an armour-piercing "explosively formed projectile" or EFP, also known as a shaped charge, directly into an armoured vehicle, inflicting death or terrible injuries on troops inside.

The weapon can penetrate the armour of British and American tanks and armoured personnel carriers and completely destroy armoured Land Rovers, which are used by the majority of British troops on operations in Iraq.

The device, described as an "off-route mine", was seized by British troops in Iraq earlier this year and brought back to Britain where it underwent detailed examination by scientists at Fort Halstead, the Government's forensic explosive laboratory in Kent.

The Ministry of Defence has attempted to play down the effectiveness of the weapons, suggesting that they are "crude" or "improvised" explosive devices which have killed British troops more out of luck than judgement.

However, this newspaper understands that Government scientists have established that the mines are precision-made weapons which have been turned on a lathe by craftsmen trained in the manufacture of munitions.

A source from the American military, who has been working closely with British scientists, said that the insurgents have perfected the design of the weapon and know exactly where to place it to ensure maximum damage to coalition vehicles...
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Old 07-12-2006   #38
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Default Seeking and Destroying IEDs in Disguise

12 July New York Times - A Platoon’s Mission: Seeking and Destroying Explosives in Disguise by Michael Gordon.

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When American soldiers take to the road they pray they avoid the roadside bombs that seem to explode every day in Iraq. Sgt. First Class Timothy Faust has a very different goal: he hopes to find them.

Sergeant Faust’s Demon Platoon has the “route clearing” mission for Company A, Task Force 1-36. That is the somewhat understated description of an operation that involves driving into a veritable no man’s land in hostile Anbar Province to uncover mines, buried artillery shells and all manner of explosive devices, often under sniper fire.

The Pentagon has spent millions of dollars on technology to counter the bombs, which the insurgents have continued to install at a furious rate. But as a recent trip with Demon Platoon showed, detecting the bombs — improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s, as the soldiers call them — is often a matter of memorizing the location of trash heaps, bomb craters, dirt mounds and construction sites in Hit, a garbage-strewn city of 40,000...
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Old 07-29-2006   #39
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Default Fighting Roadside Bombs

29 July Washington Post - Fighting Roadside Bombs: Low-Tech, High-Tech, Toy Box by Renae Merle.

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Robert Pervere's fight against insurgents in Iraq started with an Emaxx monster truck from Debbie's RC World Inc. in Chesapeake, Va., a $335 toy that he turned into a weapon for U.S. troops against roadside bombs. The 24-year-old engineer replaced about 80 percent of the toy's plastic parts with aluminum, fastened two small surveillance cameras to the top and made room for an explosive that could blow up suspicious objects from hundreds of feet away.

"I get paid to play with [radio control] cars," said Pervere, who helped build the prototype for Applied Marine Technology Inc., a Virginia-based defense contractor that has said it expects to begin receiving military orders in September. "This has been a very rewarding project, working on a tool that's going to be out the door saving lives shortly."

After more than three years of war in Iraq, roadside bombs remain the deadliest single threat to U.S. troops, and countering them has emerged as one of the chief technological problems of the conflict. The Pentagon has spent tens of millions of dollars on the most obvious fixes -- adding armor to vehicles and deploying jammers to block radio signals used to explode the devices -- only to see the insurgents develop larger, better-concealed and more complicated explosives triggered by cellphones, garage-door openers, pressure hoses and other methods. Soldiers have even developed solutions of their own: Many Humvees in Iraq are outfitted with metal devices the size of a hockey stick that can catch tripwires or detect heat-sensitive triggers on roadside bombs.

Now, a Pentagon agency with a $3.3 billion budget and a staff of 300 has a mandate to focus the defense industry on the problem. The undertaking has attracted not only the country's top weapons makers but also dozens of small businesses like AMTI, all pitching a science-fiction gallery of possible solutions...
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Old 07-29-2006   #40
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That's outstanding!!! Kudos to that young engineer!!! I recently saw an interesting documentary on the Navy EOD training on the Military channel. It's worth watching.
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