IED TRAINING UPDATE
IED TRAINING UPDATE
Written by Erin Flynn Jay
MT2 2012 Volume: 17 Issue: 1 (February)
IEDs remain the number one cause of U.S. servicemembers killed and wounded in action. As such, the Army is working to counter the threat through the development of innovative material and nonmaterial initiatives, said Lieutenant Colonel Peggy Kageleiry, Press Desk, Operations, Intelligence, and Logistics Team, Media Relations Division, HQDA Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.
Jim Morris, chief, Training Development Division, Directorate of Training and Doctrine for Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE), said counter-IED (CIED) training is a part of the complex conditions that coalition forces (CF) encounter as a part of current operations in Afghanistan and worldwide.
“CIED training provides the training to mitigate the impact of IED employment. To date it has not been able to totally protect CF, but it has done much to reduce casualties and damage to CF,” he said.
Training is just as important as the continued improvement of materiel for vehicles and individuals. “TRADOC supports all aspects of doctrine, organization, training, and leader development and education in support of both training and equipment,” said Morris. “TRADOC also supports the acquisition of new materiel and the development of new training and education.”
The enemy is adaptive and creates counters for just about every system the U.S. and its allies employ. “To ensure that our forces remain as far ahead as possible with respect to solutions, the Army has also developed temporary organizations to work closely with in-country forces to expedite counter-IED solutions,” said Morris. “TRADOC is fully involved in the support of those solutions as well as planning for the future.”
The Army conducts CIED summits to identify tasks common to all and by skill level for institutional training. Morris added the Army is also working on a new method to detect behaviors that will help identify enemy personnel or those that support the enemy. This program is known as Advanced Situation Awareness Training (ASAT) and uses law enforcement techniques used to identify criminal activity. This training enables warfighters to better identify enemy activity before they can employ IEDs. The MCoE is asking the Department of the Army to support the additional training associated with ASAT, added Morris.
Tactical Issue of IEDs
The tactical issue of IEDs has become the strategic influence on military training, said Kier Head, business development C-IED subject matter expert, Allen-Vanguard Threat Solutions Ltd.
Within the U.K. Army, once a unit is placed upon the ‘operational tour plot,’ a planning matrix of which units should be doing what and when, they will be aware of their arrival date into an operation theater such as Afghanistan. In training terms, they will also be aware of all the requirements they need to complete and the timeframe for such before deployment.
“This will start between six to 12 months prior to deployment, possibly longer for specialist personnel. Personnel training will start to build up individual skills depending upon that person’s role on deployment. It will then progress to low-level team competencies before larger exercises just before deploying, proving the ability of the formation to work together in a highly professional manner in all aspects,” said Head. “Countering the threat faced, IEDs being just one of these, is the aim—an aim which has to be and is achieved before deployment.”
The approach to CIED equipment can be approached in terms of remote and semi-remote, depending upon the established policy, doctrine and standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the unit. Allen-Vanguard provides equipment solutions and threat solutions including training, consultancy and intelligence products, and developers of counter-threat capability. Equipment solutions like the Defender ROV and the MedEng Mk9 bomb suit combine with customized basic-to-advanced level IED disposal training. Head said this gives a holistic capability that will enable the threat to be mitigated and eventually countered.
“IED training is important because of the shortcomings in the soldier’s ability to identify IEDs and make a proper response,” said Bob Turner, sales manager for Combat Training Solutions Inc. “IEDs take multiple shapes and sizes, and with the enemies’ ingenuity they can completely hide them or camouflage their appearance.”
The military implements IED training primarily through the use of battlefield effects (BFE) by “creating scenarios during training exercises in real-world environments; simulating villages, civilians on the battlefield, role players and opposing forces,” said Turner. “BFE incidents are created during those scenarios, whether they are roadside IEDs, VBIEDs (vehicle-borne IEDs), suicide bombers or other placements that have been used in war.”
The challenge lies in IED identification and developing an instinctual awareness and response to develop a soldier’s ‘Spidey senses,’ said Turner. Combat Training Solutions’ non-pyrotechnic devices have been developed to aid in identification and developing a “safe negative penalty.” Being uniquely non-pyrotechnic means they can literally detonate at your feet and you will have no injury.
“You would have proper PPE [personal protective equipment] gear on, eye and ear protection, but the explosive signature from our devices will create that negative penalty you won’t ever want to experience again. Legacy military training has been through the use of pyrotechnic devices that emit fire and shrapnel, causing injury and death during training exercises,” said Turner. “It’s too costly when you have a safe alternative with our devices. Our devices are used by military, law enforcement and security organization worldwide. We are in every Army and Marine training support center.”
CM Labs creates engaging virtual simulation to enhance crew preparedness and performance and mission outcome for advanced ground equipment operations.
Their product, Vortex, provides simulation capabilities for the training and analysis of any physics based ground vehicle and robotic application, said Sébastien Lozé, director, marketing and partner sales, CM Labs Simulations Inc.
“Vortex sets the standard for physically accurate, real-time simulations of ground vehicles for virtual prototyping and testing, mission rehearsal, operator or pilot training,” said Lozé. “More than just a vehicle simulation builder, the Vortex-created vehicles module features engineering precision, physicsdriven motion, modeling that is flexible and reusable, and easy scalability.”
Deployed in hundreds of applications, Vortex simulates complete vehicle drivetrain, steering and braking systems, tire and track ground interactions, and suspension. For tracked vehicles, both rigid and flexible tracks can be simulated, as well as both skid and geared steering. Vortex has flexible and reusable vehicle assembly features, models vehicles dynamically and uses the same engineering properties employed by vehicle design engineers, which saves many months of effort. Vortex facilitates the creation of high-fidelity and robust military, mining, earth-moving and other heavy vehicles. Visual-simulation designers can add extra dynamic components such as trailers, turrets, weapon systems, manipulators, backhoes, drills and plows, and define drivetrain and suspension behavior with vehicle engineering data tables. Users control the vehicle through standard inputs such as steering, throttle, manual and automatic transmissions. Vortex vehicles are fully integrated within the virtual world, correctly interacting with other objects, varying terrain and their environment. Rolling resistance, slip and tire normal forces are all computed. Vehicles also exhibit accurate behavior when colliding with other vehicles and obstacles, simulating rollover, digging-in/plowing, or responding to self-generated forces.
Vortex indirectly supports the warfighters, as it is integrated in the training of several NATO supported operations in the world.
Explotrain manufactures a full range of explosive simulators: small, easily concealed units that can be wall-mounted in urban environments, models the size of many typical IEDs that can be partially buried or submerged to simulate roadside bombs or indirect fire, and larger simulators to replicate blasts for training troops mounted in armored vehicles, said Dean Preston, president of Explotrain.
“All of our simulators can be interfaced with a variety of initiation methods: wireless key fobs, advanced wireless transmitters that can control multiple units up to a half mile away, computer-based touchscreen control systems, and an endless variety of real world triggering devices used by the enemy, e.g., tripwires, pressure plates, motion detectors, etc.,” said Preston. “We can also provide visual and olfactory signatures such as dust, smoke and the smells of explosives, burning vehicles, blood and flesh.”
Explotrain’s simulators provide a realistic method of recreating the stress of the battlefield for our troops in training. The violence of an explosion in combat will trigger extreme reactions from untrained personnel, typically to the advantage of the enemy who is responsible for the explosion in the first place. By training our troops to react instantly and correctly to an IED or incoming mortar round, for example, these reactions become tactically advantageous.
Inert Products LLC also provides a large selection of functional and inert IED replicas and kits specifically designed to support multiple training scenarios, said Robert E. Rozzi, president/CEO of Inert Products.
“Our inventory includes inert munitions, ordnance, triggers, detonators, replica weapons, custom posters, books and videos,” he said. “Our products are currently in use on ranges and IED training lanes worldwide. Our focus on realism makes it extremely difficult to differentiate our replicas from their real counterpart when placed side by side. These products allow every warfighter to train with a realistic inert training aid that would normally only be available to EOD personnel.”
IED defeat is a constantly evolving challenge. Developing products to meet this challenge can be extremely difficult. Normal procurement procedures within DoD can be time-consuming, and in many cases the need for a new product can change or is no longer present in the time it takes between concept and delivery of a new product.
“We do all we can to design products and kits that will remain relevant in training regardless of the tactics used by our adversaries. It is also nearly impossible to get experts to unanimously agree on which products are best suited to support training scenarios,” said Rozzi. “Scenarios, and the products used to support them, can differ greatly between branches of service and even from installation to installation.”
RL Leaders works with the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) to create the IED Battle Drill (IEDBD), a full-scale immersive training experience.
“There are two functions for the IEDBD. First, it provides extremely realistic training of IED observable and signature detection, actions and protocols upon detection,” said John Rogers, CEO, RL Leaders LLC. “Second, it provides an accurate, realistic IED detonation experience coordinated with post-event training. Currently working with the great team at Camp Atterbury, we have just started training soldiers. Their response in the value they find in the training has been tremendous.”
The IEDBD allows soldiers to take their previousIED training and apply it in as real a situation as possible to maintain situational awareness, as well as the SOPs and TTTPs when they encounter a potential IED indicator. The ability of the IEDBD to provide an actual IED detonation simulation (with violent movement, smoke, etc.) provides the intrinsic training of an IED situation, which better prepares soldiers to understand the event and to understand the crisis management decisions that must be made after the detonation. ♦