Route Clearance Units Face More than Just IEDs

By Critical Solutions International May 9, 2018 1:35:33 PM

Conventional route clearance units target on-route, subsurface threats using highly survivable platforms and sophisticated sensor arrays. In order to assess countless distractions that litter a route, clearance units must move deliberately and focus the majority of their attention downward, often resulting in tunnel vision. This can leave them susceptible to complex or direct fire attacks. While maneuver elements are able to dictate their own movement, designating context and shaping the enemy’s conditions for engagement, clearance elements are much more restricted in their movement and more predictable in their habits. Much of this restriction is inherent in the clearance task and is difficult to avoid. This means that leaders must resource their units with technologies that allow clearance personnel to prioritize subsurface threats without ignoring external risk. One vehicle survivability upgrade that can do this is Q-NET RPG protection.

Critical Solutions Internationals Husky Q-net RPG protection

Static Anticipation of Threats

Enemy forces that recognize the limitations of slow-moving clearance patrols often take advantage of near-sighted personnel and regular halts to initiate complex attacks. These attacks can turn a clearance unit from a mobility asset into an obstacle. These mobility characteristics of the clearance patrol align well with the enemy’s own limitations to employing one of their most devastating weapons, the RPG. Restrictions to the range and accuracy of the RPGs are less limiting when  targeting clearance vehicles designed with a focus on subsurface strike survivability. This enables RPGs to disrupt clearance operations and “protects” IEDs from detection, allowing the IEDs to be employed against less survivable vehicles. As such, clearance patrols are frequently targeted with RPGs. The downward focus of patrols makes it easier for RPG teams to get close to their targets, and the clearance element’s mission to stop and carefully neutralize subsurface threats ensures that RPG targets will be static at designated points. This minimizes the primary limitations of the RPG: range and accuracy. Clearance vehicles must protect themselves from this secondary threat and recognize the restrictions that their primary mission places upon them. Integration of RPG protection onto clearance platforms ensures that operators are kept safe while they focus on interrogation and detection of on-route, subsurface threats. Integrating QinetiQ North America’s Q-NET onto route clearance vehicles goes one step further. It ensures that this protection is lightweight and effective without being physically or visually burdensome.

Bar armour obstructed view

Maintaining Visibility

One of the benefits of a light, RPG protection solution such as Q-NET is that it eliminates the need for obstructive bar armor, slat armor, or similar armor alternatives. Clearance vehicles are often already integrated with payloads and peripheral technologies that obscure visibility, so any further addition must take into consideration its impact on the operator’s ability to visually scan for threat indicators. Because the majority of contemporary IED finds still occur visually (employing sensors largely to verify operator-suspected threats), operator visibility has a major impact on a clearance element’s effectiveness. Bar armor and many other RPG protection payloads tend to reduce visibility and create blind spots at critical angles. Clearance personnel can’t afford any blind spots. The easy installation, repair, and complete coverage of the Q-NET make it ideal for RPG defense without hindering visibility.

CSI Buffalo over-burdened with Bar Armor

Keeping Payloads Light on Over-Burdened Clearance Platforms

Stability forces’ employment of massive, survivable vehicles to protect clearance personnel is a result of the evolving IED threat over the past decade. These IEDs now have devastating power and dynamic designs. Clearance platforms are covered in a range of sensors, interrogation, and mitigation payloads. The result has been an establishment of cumbersome patrols that can have difficulty traversing narrow routes that they must clear for lighter and more maneuverable follow-on units. With this in mind, leaders must be aware of the weight and external space claim of every payload added to their clearance platforms. Large, bulky route clearance vehicles can become obstructions that hinder progress of those units they are clearing for, or they can become immobile obstacles if they face a catastrophic strike. Q-NET reduces the silhouette of the vehicle in comparison to other RPG protection upgrades.

Critical Solutions Internationals Husky Q-net RPG protection

Armor for the Modern Mobile Clearance Unit

Leaders who are responsible for resourcing clearance units often focus solely on the threat of the IED and forget the vulnerability that results from this focus. While IEDs are the mission, they are not the only threat, so it’s important to field payloads that enable operators to focus on that threat without leaving them less effective or vulnerable to secondary threats. Q-NET is the solution that considers all of these limitations and offers critical RPG protection in a form that does not inhibit the effectiveness of clearance operations.

Critical Solutions Internationals Husky Q-net RPG protectionDownload your free guide to take advantage of the Husky Long Term Contract

Category: Route Clearance, C-IED, Insights, cnet, bar armor

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