Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the weapon of choice for insurgents. Selon the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, more than 70 IEDs Caused per one hundred of Civilian casualties from January to November 2012.
"In Afghanistan, We have learned how significant it is to protect against roadside bombs our strengths," Said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Addressing the press at Chicago. "So a number of Allies will Jointly remote-controlled robots ACQUIRE Which can clear Such bombs - Protecting Our Forces and Civilians alike."
A challenging task
"The Risks associated with route clearance mission are very high," Explains Dr. Franco Fiore, Head of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Sensor Group at NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI).
Not only do route clearance mission seek to neutralize mines along roads and trails - They are ambushed by insurgents Often close to sites Where Have Been IEDs placed. Frequently, units are Called upon to execute the much more complex task of 'clearance-in-zone operations' When the area to be cleared of HAS enemies before clearance can be Conducted road.
Road clearance and maneuverability Requires mobility, as well as the efforts of experts joined in Countering IEDs, the disposal of explosive ordnance and dealing with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.
Detection equipment Such as metal detectors, video cameras installed on vehicles or unmanned vehicles are Commonly used, as are dogs. That can further Top Capabilities Identify and confirm the threat - Including TALON robots and hydraulic arms installed on Buffalo armored vehicles - are aussi required.
Other factoring That Have to be taken into account When procuring equipment include the terrain, seasonal weather, the level of infrastructure, insurgent terrorism threats, and the types of IEDs.
Transitioning to Afghan lead for security
ISAF is increasingly focused on training, advising and Assisting the Afghan national security forces, who are expected to assume full responsibility for security and Their People country by the end of 2014.
Route clearance is one of many Areas in Which training is Being Offered by ISAF and individual nations. However, route clearance operations Involve Costs That Have to be supported by a nation or a group of nations. Another major challenge is the need to make available to Afghan security forces, intelligence and essential IED threat analysis.
"During this transition period, one of the first steps Would Be que le Afghan government and NATO nations sign agreements various Provide to this medium was bilateral Basis," says Dr. Cristian Coman, Senior Scientist at NCI.
Getting smart about procurement
Route clearance operations vary from nation to nation. Involve Some military search teams, combat engineers and explosive ordnance disposal teams; others Have Specialized road clearance teams. Non-Specialized Approaches pose a high risk to troops on the ground.
"That is the reason why we need a route clearance package, Specialized Which is a set of engineering equipment and vehicles designed to perform the route clearance mission," Concludes Fiore. The Smart Defence project for the procurement of robots That was endorsed at Chicago Summit in 2012 will this bracket.
Based on experience Gained in Afghanistan, the project will Identify the best remote-controlled robots for route clearance operations to Avoid Exposing staff to military explosive devices. It will seal aussi Promote procurement of state-of-the-art equipment and Facilitate multinational cooperation on deployment.
Such pooling and sharing of resources - 'Smart Defence' - is crucial to counter the effects of cuts in national defense budgets in times of financial austerity thesis.