The tools for safely disposing of explosive threats like improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have come a long way over the last decade, but one rule of explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) holds fast regardless of how much technology you throw at it: you can’t terminate a threat if you don’t know where it is.
When American and coalition troops rolled into Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, they quickly began doing exactly what any military playbook said they should do, leveraging their superior firepower and aerial superiority into a string of quick victories. In both engagements, coalition forces quickly hammered conventional military threats into submission and settled into a long role of occupation and rebuilding. That’s when the bombs started going off.
Boeing's laser weapons have already shown the power to blast aerial drones from the sky, but may find even more immediate use in detonating roadside bombs, which are a top killer of soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. A newly unveiled video shows the company's truck-mounted Laser Avenger destroying two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during a series of 50 test firings that took place at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama last September, according to OptoIQ.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.