IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are the principal cause of casualties in Iraq. To cope with the IED problem, Unitech, a Virginia-based company that has specialized in developing training support systems, ranging from computer simulations to full scale exercise plans, for military, police, security, and industrial uses, has come up with a "Training IED" - abbreviated as T/IED.
Since IEDs come in an enormous range of forms, depending upon what explosives are available and the ingenuity of the bomb maker in devising a delivery and concealment strategy, the T/IED is kind of "kit" that allows trainers to develop a variety of different devices, to better expose their troops to the great variety of IEDs that have already been encountered, and, by using a little ingenuity, to create "new" devices. This provides troops some "hands on" experience in detecting and dealing with IEDs before they actually encounter them, thus greatly reducing casualties.
The T/IED is based on some "off the shelf" technologies, notably a common interface device, a remote triggering unit, an M80TR Pressure Sensitive Land Mine Simulator, and an M12TR Trip Wire Booby Trap Simulator, plus an M155FT Large IED Simulator. It is also possible to use other explosive simulators - such the M9 Blasting Cap or the M80 TOW Blast Simulator - with the T/IED. To insure close attention from the trainees, T/IED provides an impressive "light and sound" show if handled carelessly.
At present the Army and the Marine Corps have about 80-90 T/IEDs. Most - perhaps 50 - are in use at the Joint Readiness Training Center (Ft. Polk), and the balance are with the troops in the Middle East. The T/IED is an excellent example of how R&D and procurement decisions that may take years in peacetime, can be resolved quickly in wartime. Contracts for the T/IED were let in April of 2005, and deliveries began in August.