The United States has developed a
new generation jammer for roadside bombs. In the next year, 10,000 CREW
(counter radio-controlled IED electronic warfare) jammers will be delivered to
the troops. EDO Communications, the manufacturer, has been providing such
equipment since 2003. EDO first developed the Warlock electronic jammer, to
prevent the enemy from setting off IEDs. Warlock is currently the most common
jammer in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Warlock has gone through many revisions, to
add more frequencies and better software.
Rolling along in a convoy, with one or more jammers
broadcasting, the troops have an electronic "bubble" that made them safe from
an IED they had not spotted. It's not uncommon for vehicles to have had an IED go off behind
them, the result of the IED detonation crew continuing to send the signal,
believing that there might be something wrong with their equipment. In those
cases, the patrol often turns around and goes looking for the enemy team.
In addition to jammers like CREW and Warlock,
several of the U.S. Air Force and Navy electronic warfare aircraft are able to
perform the same functions, but over a wider area. This was often used when
American troops were in action against the enemy, shutting down IED detonation
over the entire combat area, as U.S. troops moved around seeking out and
fighting the enemy.
One problem with the jamming was that it killed
cell phone operation, as well as use of many other remote electronic devices
Iraqi civilians in the area might be trying to use. The Iraqis complain to each
other, but asking the U.S. troops to shut it off would be futile, so they
don't. The CREW jammer has lots of new features, most of which are secret.
Terrorist groups have tried to find ways around the jammer, but have been
unsuccessful. Most roadside bombs are now set off via a wire connection between
the detonator and a nearby guy pressing a button. This has caused more
terrorist casualties, and generally made it more difficult for the bombers. The
big improvement in CREW is that it is easier to add new frequencies, and the
jammer interferes less with other military communications and sensors.