This final report describes a nine-month feasibility study that resulted in a new technology that can counter the threat of terrorists to inflict casualties through its ability to provide an effective, inexpensive, and robust render-safe solution against a wide range of homemade explosives.
The authors of this final report describe the development of a new technology for neutralizing explosives that are expected in vehicle born improvised explosive device (VBIED) scenarios. The explosive used by the authors was commercial grade ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO), and the program requirements were: that the solution must neutralize the explosives with minimal collateral damage, implying that the ANFO must not detonate; and that the solution must be compatible with bomb squad operational tactics and tools. Additional requirements were used when developing the new technology, were that the solution should improve the following: actions: the bomb squad’s ability to render safe the confirmed or suspected VBIEDs at a safe standoff distance; the bomb squad’s ability to quickly attend to targets; response time from identification to neutralization of IEDs and VBIEDs; and the post mortem forensic analysis. The authors chose a projectile carrying a specialized reactive material (RM) fired into an explosive, to cause a vented deflagration, as the neutralization method. The final RM projectile was fired from a commercial 12-guage percussion-actuated nonelectric (PAN) disruptor. The results demonstrated that the RM projectile causes a controlled reaction of a sufficient mass of ANFO that the resulting pressurization of the container causes the container to rupture, and produces a render-safe solution. The authors state that several free-field shots demonstrated that both plastic and steel containers, containing between 40 and 100 pounds of ANFO, could be successfully rendered safe. The authors suggest that the demonstrated approach could be taken to mature technology, or technology readiness level (TRL) 9, and is capable of countering the threat of terrorists to inflict casualties through its ability to provide an effective, inexpensive, and robust render-safe solution against a wide range of homemade explosives.
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