Almost anything that blows up can be turned into an IED, from grenades to plastic explosives to leftover mines. The most everyday of electronics — a cell phone, a garage door opener, a child’s remote-control toy — can be recast as a trigger. And the hiding places for the handmade bombs are everywhere: in the ground, aboard a truck, even inside an animal carcass.
So far, the strongest push to silence the bombs has come from the Army, which has ordered thousands of radio-frequency jammers from Simi Valley, California, firm EDO Communications & Countermeasures. The devices, called Warlock Green and Warlock Red, intercept “the signal sent from a remote location to the IED instructing it to detonate,” an Army official told military newsletter Inside Defense. The signal “cannot make contact, therefore when it can’t make contact it doesn’t detonate,” he added. “(It’s like) the cell phone never gets through, but (enemy forces) think it goes through.”
The Army won’t say much about the machines. But last week, service chiefs signed a contract with EDO for an additional 1,440 Warlock jammers, to be delivered in May at a cost of more than $56 million.