Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs): A Threat to Humanitarian Causes

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs): A Threat to Humanitarian Causes

Especially in the present times, the mine action sector must be prepared to react to the dangers that exist due to conflict, including those presented by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Generally, International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) directions have mirrored how mine action exercises have focused on mitigating the dangers presented by explosive ordnance (EO) created and assembled to a determined set of officially manufacturing standards.

IMAS has hence been made to supplement the existing guidance for mine action operation. It ought not to be viewed as an independent document but instead as a necessary part of an IMAS structure that, when applied, guarantees safety, quality, and efficiency in exercises being directed, and in this manner providing trust in mine action operations. However, proper training and support teams are mandatory to mitigate the risks associated with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

All About Improvised Explosive Devices IED

An IED is characterized as a device put or manufactured in an improvised way, joining dangerous, toxic, poisonous, explosive, pyrotechnic materials or chemical material. The intent is to eradicate, distort, distract or harass. They may use military stores yet are typically contrived from non-military components. There are, by definition, no manufacturing standards for IED development; also, the individuals who make IEDs persistently change the characteristics, the working, or the delivery strategy for the gadget.

IEDs are utilized in a wide range of settings. These gadgets may be used in open rural areas to counter mobility or potentially deny access to explicit areas.

Even though IEDs have been used for many years, the expanded utilization of IEDs as a weapon of choice by non-state armed groups has been an unmistakable pattern as of late. IEDs block humanitarian access and affect citizens, clearance organizations, and international relief agencies. As an outcome, there is a rising need to assist with the humanitarian impact of the use of IEDs amid recent conflicts. Armtrac serves to contribute to this cause.

The Armtrac 20T C-IED Robot

 The Armtrac 20T C-IED Robot is an adaptable, cost-effective, remote-controlled Small (Heavy) Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). Various toolkits can be fitted, including a demining flail or tiller and simultaneously a rear robotic arm outfitted with multiple connections. Tillers and Flails clear Explosive Ordnance (EO), including antipersonnel mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), by detonation or by shattering the EO so it cannot function.

In counter-IED operations, a detector framework can be mounted on the front, and an IED disruptor can be fitted on the rear robotic arm. It has a 74 HP diesel water-cooled Kohler engine that can constantly work for several hours without refuelling. Every hydraulic hose and couplings are universally common to ensure the vehicle's international usability.

The Armtrac 20T Robot is equipped for performing the accompanying roles:

Conventional Demining &Counter-EO Clearance Operations

  • Technical Survey and EO Reconnaissance
  • Mechanical demining where there is restricted access for larger mechanical equipment
  • Vegetation cutting before manual or canine assisted demining
  • Small clearance operations & area reduction

Counter-IED Operations

  • Support to C-IED operations
  • Support to Route Clearance operations
  • Surface/Sub-surface IED Disposal
  • Mechanical Surrogate Scout for Dismounted Foot Patrols

Colombia Operations

 In 2016 the Colombian Government signed a world acclaimed peace treaty with FARC a terrorist organisation operating in the country for over 50 years. In that civil war an estimated 220,000 people died, most of them civilians and more than five million civilians were forced from their homes generating the world's second-largest population of internally displaced persons.

One of the legacies that the conflict left behind was a profusion of land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices throughout the country. These land mines and IEDs caused a high level of civilian casualties (which they still do) and an inability to open up large areas of otherwise productive areas of the countryside.

In late 2016, following the Peace accord, a number of NGOs were allocated areas for EO Clearance Operations within different parts of Colombia.  Armtrac supplied 4 x A20T C-IED Robots to the Norwegian People’s Aid to assist with this clearance but these were withdrawn in 2021 for use elsewhere in the world following a refurbishment at the Armtrac workshop.

The Warren Buffet Foundation, who had supported the peace process throughout, made a donation  in 2018 of US$25m to the Colombian Presidential International Cooperation Agency (CPICA) to further the peace process. CPICA was formed as a Colombian Government agency to accept foreign donations to support the peace accord.   The funds then were then specifically allocated to the Colombian Army’s Demining Brigade.

The Colombian Demining Brigade consists of 3000 individuals and the Warren Buffet funds were allocated to support the Brigade. This included the purchase of vehicles, body protection equipment amongst other items.  Armtrac from the UK won an international tender to supply 7 units of their Armtrac 20T C-IED Robot vehicle to the Demining Brigade.  The contract was signed on the 27th April 2021 and is to be delivered by the end of this year.

The Bottom Line

Involved in the design, manufacture, and operation of mine-clearing machines for over two decades, Armtrac’s machinery has successfully overseen mine and UXO clearing operations worldwide. The Founder of Armtrac, Stephen Brown, has contributed alongside the Mechanical Mine Action Committee of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). Thereby, Armtac is solely committed to empowering Counter-Explosive Ordnance (C-EO) and Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Disposal teams by also offering training and support.

If you have any questions regarding IEDs, do not hesitate to reach out to our team on:

+44 (0) 1638 743979 or email us at for more information.