This story is about IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), which have cost many lives and caused considerable damage in some of the world's most troubled regions. And about how Saab and the British Army developed a solution that gave British troops an entirely new capability to validate and train in the handling of mine detectors so as to detect and remove IEDs with a wider margin of safety before they could cause harm.
British soldiers have naturally trained in seeking and removing mines and bombs for quite some time. Despite this, IEDs continued to cause losses and destruction. Saab was engaged to help find out why. By February 2009, Saab and the British Army had determined that both the training methodology and equipment required further development to prepare the soldiers for the reality they encountered in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Working together, Saab and the British Army developed an entirely new, complete training system designed to meet both today's and tomorrow's IED threats. The development time was extremely short – just 53 days – due to many of the sub-systems that were included in the solution already being in Saab's product portfolio. It was just necessary to think along somewhat different lines.
Described in simple terms, it was a matter of combining a motion detector with the metal detector that was already standard equipment for the British Army and then integrating the two with Saab's training system, which was also already in use by the Brits. A soldier's handling of the metal detector and its movements could then be registered in real-time with audio and video in ExCON – the part of the system that handles and integrates all information and provides a detailed three-dimensional representation of terrain, troops and activities in real-time. And provides an exact picture of how individual soldiers handled their equipment and carried out their duties.
The system has tools for rapid follow-up and analysis, offering entirely new opportunities for learning from mistakes and subsequently maximising training effectiveness. With the new solution, soldiers have become better at finding and eliminating roadside bombs, which means increased everyday safety and security with fewer fatalities and injuries.