Soldiers fight a slow moving battle to unearth fake IEDs


Soldiers armed with metal detectors advance at snail’s pace down a woodland trail.

Every scrap of metal they see could be a potential death trap, an improvised explosive device that has all-too-often maimed and killed Canadian and allied soldiers in combat zones.

Luckily this is only an exercise, but army engineers on maneuvers in Cape Breton’s Blue Mountain region are treating it as the real thing, practising lessons learned fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.

As they move along the path, they take with them a robot to help with anything they find, explains Master Warrant Officer Dan McPhee from Sydney. His unit is part of 4 Engineering Support Regiment’s Exercise Nihilo Sapper, which tests skills such as safe removal of IEDs, commonly used by insurgent groups around the world.

The key to safe handling of IEDs is keeping one’s distance from such lethal devices using specialized vehicles and remote-controlled technology such as the robot. With vehicles such as the tractor-like Husky, which uses ground-penetrating sensors to pinpoint suspect devices, they search for the potential bomb.

They also use an armoured Buffalo vehicle, surrounded by a cage to protect it from ambush attacks and equipped with a high-resolution camera mounted on a beam to scan the road surface.

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Source: Hants Journal.