European countries sign letter of intent to set up IED neutralization training

Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Austria signed a letter of intent on Tuesday expressing interest in pooling resources and expertise to set up training courses for countering improvised explosive devices.

The European Defence Agency announced the signing on Tuesday, which could set the stage for shared C-IED Manual Neutralization Techniques courses and exercises capacity. The signatory countries expressed their interest in cooperating to develop a project arrangement and to participate in the project.

Earlier in 2013, EDA Member States expressed their desire to increase efforts on MNT due to a limited but urgent requirement which did not justify separate national training programs in such a high-cost area. Austria proposed and developed a four-year MNT project under the umbrella of the Pooling & Shared Countering IED Training initiative. The intent of the proposal was to conduct one MNT course and exercise annually.

Training manual IED neutralizers is cost intensive because of expensive equipment and the specialist's advisory role. Manual neutralizers can save lives and are important to participating EDA Member States.

IEDs continue to pose a major threat to military and civilian personnel. Complex explosive devices must be neutralized manually to prevent explosion.

The EDA began the process to define the C-IED program in 2007.