The ENCOUNTER project aims to assess current state of the art capability in both the neutralization of small scale improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and in mitigating the effects of a detonated IED, leading to the development of improved capability in both areas.
In terms of neutralization, well established methods exist for disrupting soft-packaged IEDs with simple command/initiation methods in scenarios where the neutralization devices can be brought relatively close to the suspected device. Capability is more limited if the device is less accessible, hardened or has more sophisticated initiation systems. The development of neutralisation will concentrate on devising both entirely novel approaches and improving existing techniques to ameliorate the chances of successfully defeating a device in these situations.
If an IED is triggered in an urban environment, previous cases have shown that fragments ejected during the explosion cause the majority of injuries, and in many cases the IED will be packed with nails or ball bearings to produce this effect. Fragments retain high speed and energy which cause damage over a much greater distance than the damaging pressure pulse from a typical IED explosion, so their containment is vital in order to limit and mitigate damage. The research on mitigation will therefore focus on the containment of fragments using approaches including wire baskets and blast resistant mats. Modelling will be used to predict the outcomes of these technologies, with project partners building prototypes to provide validation.
ENCOUNTER is a project funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme, Grant Agreement No. 285505.