Mitigation of EO Threats with Innovative Robotic Systems

by Dino Išasegi, Business Development manager at DOK-ING, Croatia

The insurgency has been a serious problem for years affecting peace and security, and socio-economic stability in various parts of the world.

While targeting primarily VIPs, authorities and law enforcement personnel, insurgents do not make any distinction thus making the local population a victim of para-military warfare, where mines, UXO and especially IEDs are quite often being placed without any logic. Fatalities and severe injuries among civilians and especially children and elder people terrify locals, making them scared and uncertain about the future. Such illegal mine warfare has also seriously undermined the socio-economic situation in the Region reducing trade, tourism and agriculture. Civil protection is the most important aspect when dealing with EO threats.

Military and police together with the local authorities are in need of more effective and efficient both strategic & tactical solutions to fight such non-selective mine warfare. Proper intel, collection of data from different sources, analysis of data, lessons learnt sessions, on-desk assessment missions, distribution of information among the local population on mined or suspected mine areas, placing of warring signs, mine awareness and mine risk reduction education training courses within local communities, use of local volunteers are just some of the methods that need to be intensified.

Additionally, designated military & police personnel are required to be up to date equipped and trained to satisfy the demands, to meet and respond to the threats properly. In this sense, the DOK-ING doctrine addresses the issue of counter mobility, including landmines, UXO and IED disposal. DOK-ING MV-4 Mobile Robotic System for C-IED application is the only system in the world enabling to neutralize encountered UXOs and IEDs from a safe distance with a wide variety of tools. Under such circumstances, both the MV-4 system and most important a soldier/policeman operating this unmanned ground vehicle will stay safe, while the mission would be completed. Military engineering equipped with such systems can do rapid response reactions from a safe distance and without the need to expose operators to risk. Through innovations and capability development with the usage of the robotic systems are created a safer approach to extreme environments.

Detonation of mines and IEDs in rural areas can lead to uncontrolled and widely spread fire, while the level of fire protection in those areas still needs to be improved. The same refers to human mistakes, mismanagement, wrong handling of dangerous (flammable, explosive, toxic, etc.) materials and substances at ammunition depots, weapon storage, oil plans and terminals, petrochemical & chemical industries, nuclear power stations and other potentially hazardous objects, where a fire might cause an explosion resulted in severe damages to property and environment accompanied by humans’ fatalities.

Case studies carried out following armed or terrorist attacks on technological plants, warehouses, and means of transport, as well as after major natural and technological disasters, clearly indicate the following negative aspects:

  • The focus of the war and EO threat, as well as the CBRNe threat, is shifting to urban areas and administrative and industrial centres, which we can see in the latest war between Russia and Ukraine.
  • The main problems of current technological solutions in the field of EO threats are: - Inability to enter and operate in the extremely hot zone of human crews, lack of tools to enter, and the instability of current systems to extreme environmental conditions, which prolongs the intervention time, intervene without clear prior insight into the situation, and the intervention itself is limited in time, space and volume. - Current technological implementations and selection of sensors, detectors, devices, accessories, and software solutions do not offer a comprehensive approach to collecting data on joint CBRN threats in a broader and narrower sense and threats of improvised explosive devices and mines and other associated threats. - Current defence systems against the EO threats have been specially developed for military and especially police purposes, and rarely for the needs of fire, civil protection, and industry. Furthermore, even within armed systems, systems for combat engineering, human demining, C-IED/EOD, and CBRN threats are being developed independently, creating a tactical-operational, functional, logistical, and financial problem.
  • EO threats need to be viewed in a broader technological aspect, but also together with CBRN threats, which implies that technical solutions must be: - Multifunctional (insight into the situation, reconnaissance, and monitoring of the whole spectrum of threats). - Interoperable with all components of security and defence. - Compatible with existing equipment in the CBRNe and EO hazards. - Networked with other air and ground platforms. - Networked with platforms for eliminating threats or mitigation, which must also operate in a networked and autonomous manner and be multifunctional, interoperable, and compatible with security and defence systems and forces.

Modern technologies, new materials, and new technological solutions, applied to remotely controlled systems, change the paradigm of urgent action. Thus, there is incomparably faster situational awareness and effort to eliminate or reduce hazards and repair the consequences. This reduces the effects of EO threats, technological accidents, drastically reducing zones of action, the number of hazardous substances disseminated into the environment, the level of contamination, and the need for preventive evacuation quantitatively and spatially, and minimizes the risk for rapid response units. Development and innovation have spawned solutions, and now it is time for practice. It is time to put remotely managed platforms into practical use and based on amendments to doctrines, strategies, and standard operating procedures.

A U T H O R

Dino Išasegi graduated from a Croatian military college with a degree in military engineering in 2013. After formal education as an army officer, he was a Demining & an EOD officer. Four years later, Dino finished the C-IED course and was a Commander of the numerous demining sites all over Croatia. He was the well-established leader of the demolition in the quarry and the leader of destroying found assets in the field after demining. One of his responsibilities was that he was in charge of the training of young deminers and future officers considering destruction and demining. After four years of commanding a platoon, Dino was promoted to a Company Commander of IEDD operators and deminers. As Company Commander, among other things, he was responsible for establishing the IEDD platoon in the Croatian Army. After 12 years of service in the Croatian Army, Dino resigned his duties to continue his career in the Innovative company DOK-ING. He got an offer to work as a project manager in DOK-ING where he was responsible for multiple projects considering building EOD machines. His career took a new path when he changed departments inside DOK-ING and moved to the Sales department to take the position of the Business Development manager for numerous and various markets around the Globe. A perfect fit and match from both sides, a win-win situation for DOK-ING and for Dino to be in charge of sales of machines that he successfully used in his previous career in the army in the minefields.