Speed Bump IED

The enemy seems to come up with surprises for us.


Troops in Iraq hit deadly ‘speed bumps’
Easily disguised bombs found on roadways
By Tom Vanden Brook - USA Today
Posted : February 19, 2007

A type of homemade bomb that can include parts commonly found in Iraqi kitchens and that is easy to hide on desert roads has proliferated in Anbar province and spread to other parts of the country.

Troops in armored vehicles are endangered by the bomb, which U.S. military officials call a “speed bump.” The weapon is formed by sandwiching plastic explosives between metal plates, such as baking trays, a Pentagon intelligence document shows. A detonator switch triggers the bomb when a vehicle rolls over it, ripping into the often-unarmored underside.

Improvised explosive devices cause 70 percent of U.S. deaths and wounds in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said. Explosive devices have killed 1,337 U.S. troops and wounded 11,871 in Iraq through Jan. 27, the Pentagon said.

The speed bump first appeared in Anbar province, Pentagon records show. Anbar is a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency and is the scene of some of the heaviest fighting.

The first devices were built with baking trays; now they’re fashioned from various types of metal.

“The enemy’s IED arsenal evolves as we succeed in defeating his methods of attack,” said Brig. Gen. Dan Allyn of the Pentagon’s anti-IED office.

Part of the speed bump’s effectiveness springs from its ease of disguise. It’s tough to detect on desert roads where it can be covered with dirt, according to the Pentagon document.

The military spent $3.5 billion last year to defeat IEDs. Some of that money was spent on developing armored vehicles with V-shaped hulls. Those hulls can deflect the force of a blast from a speed bump or other IED outward, sparing the troops inside the vehicle the worst of the impact.

The Army and Marine Corps are reacting to the scope of the IED problem:

• In January, the Marines placed an urgent, $9.4 million order to buy vehicles with V-shaped hulls for anti-IED work, according to Force Protection Inc. The South Carolina company produced Buffalo and Cougar combat vehicles with V-shaped hulls.

• The Army this month will begin testing the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle, whose V-shaped hull “provides an immediate and dramatic increase in underbody protection for soldiers,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, deputy chief of staff, Army G-8, told Congress in January.

The Army plans to buy about 2,500 of the new vehicles initially, Speakes told members of the House Armed Services air and land forces subcommittee at a hearing.

The Army wants to field MRAP vehicles starting this summer as a short-term solution to getting more protection in the field.

• In October, the Marines ordered $14 million worth of mine rollers — wheeled devices that travel in front of vehicles to detonate pressure-triggered IEDs.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the Pentagon had been slow to recognize the value of V-shaped-hull vehicles but is now buying them as quickly as they can be made.

“They’ve literally saved hundreds of lives,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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