Field Report: Putting the ICE on IEDs
ICE, The breadbox-sized Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Countermeasure Equipment, was developed by a team of engineers, scientists and soldiers at White Sands Missile Range, NM using commercial and military technology. Their goal: to defeat IEDs. These impromptu land mines are the most prominent threat to deployed service members in Iraq. Which is why thousands of ICE systems are in use by all of the military services, and thousands of more are on order.
For their engineering efforts team leader Maj. Raymond D. Pickering, lead White Sands ICE engineer Shane Cunico, and lead engineer Sam Mares of New Mexico State University, recently shared one of the U.S. Army’s “Greatest Inventions Awards” for 2004.
Maj. Pickering, who helped lead the ICE design team at White Sands, said that the design process involved thinking like a terrorist and acting like one too – fast. Collaboration between the Army Research Laboratory at White Sands Missile Range and New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory helped conceptualize and field ICE in less than six months, rather than years. ICE is now a government design with programmability and upgradeability, that can be fielded at a rapid pace, with an unlimited capacity in terms of manufacturing.
In terms of maintenance, ICE was designed to be repaired by Soldiers in theater at the unit level. Some Marines have insisted on waiting at the depot rather than relinquishing the device for repairs, a high compliment indeed. Feedback from the field has also modified the design. For instance, the team developed and fielded 5,000 remote control cables that can be used from the front seat or passenger side of a Humvee to activate the device.
In terms of the ICE’s success. Cunico also gave credit to Joint IED Task Force member John Tirrell and Marine Corps Maj. Bruce Paterson for kicking down the first doors of bureaucracy, and Pickering’s replacement Maj. Terrece Harris who continues to lead the ICE program. Canberra Aquila, Delta Engineering Group, Inc. and Raytheon Technical Services all remain involved with the program.
- Army News Service (July 21, 2005) – New device counters terrorism, keeps troops alive