It's not much. But I've got a leeetle more information on the military's hush-hush defense against improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.The Warlock radio frequency jammers are made by the New York and Simi Valley firm EDO. And they're based on an earlier EDO product called the Shortstop Electronic Protection System, which is designed to protect troops against proximity-fused weapons, like mortar rounds and artillery shells. According to EDO, Shortstop grabs the electronic signal that one of these weapons makes, "modifies the signal and sends it back to the weapon making the fuze think it is close to the ground. The fuze then prematurely detonates the warhead rendering the weapon essentially harmless."The Warlock doesn't do anything quite so dramatic. Instead, "it basically works by intercepting the signal sent from a remote location to the IED instructing it to detonate," an Army official told Inside Defense (which has a wrap-up of all its recent IED stories here.) "The signal 'cannot make contact, therefore when it cant make contact it doesnt detonate,' much like a cellular phone call that does not connect, he added. "The cell phone never gets through, but [enemy forces] think it go through."The jammers come in two flavors, each interrupting different frequency bands. Warlock Green connects off of the 24V DC power supply of any military vehicle, an Army document notes. Warlock Red is "designed to connect off the cigarette lighter and/or 12V DC power supply."THERE'S MORE: "The Army is testing a new method of intercepting improvised explosive devices that relies on an up-armored humvee and two types of vehicles designed in South Africa to withstand blasts from land mines," Inside Defense also notes.$2.9 million will pay for two "Hunter/Killer" teams, each with an up-armored humvee, an enhanced RG31 Medium Mine Protection vehicle, and a bulldozer-like Buffalo Explosive Ordnance Disposal vehicle, the magazine says.U.S. forces -- including the 82nd Airborne's Task Force Pathfinder -- have been using the vehicles since the beginning of the year. According to an Army public affairs story, soldiers like the RG31 because it's built to withstand a bomb (more on how that's done here) and because it's roomy. "Like riding in an armored Cadillac," one soldier quips.
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