By Army Maj. Adrian Henegan and Army Capt. Daniel White
Special to American Forces Press Service
March 2, 2009 - Iraqi army field engineer regiments are training here with an electronic countermeasure system designed to prevent remote triggering of roadside bombs. Produced by U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the Symphony improvised explosive device jammer is a vehicle-mounted, programmable, radio-frequency system that interferes with radio signals.
Officials here worked with Lockheed Martin to install Symphony systems in 22 Iraqi up-armored Humvees and 11 Badger light armored vehicles. The vehicles then were staged for issue to Iraqi divisional engineering units.
Designated Iraq soldiers receive vehicle orientation and Symphony operator's training here, then return to their home stations. Iraqi army divisions now can conduct route-clearance patrols and perform battle drill "reduction" of IEDs to make the area safe and collect evidence.
This represents a significant increase in capability for the Iraqi army, officials said.
"This fielding represents a rapid development of a critical counter-insurgency warfighting capability for Iraq," said Army Brig. Gen. Steven Salazar, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq's Joint Headquarters Army Advisory Training Team. "This effort is a result of a dedicated partnership between the Iraqi military and coalition forces, with the full support of the government of Iraq.
"To watch these route clearance units perform is no different than observing the actions of their partner U.S. engineer units in the execution of their mission," he continued. "This capability is a vital step towards ensuring the Iraqi military's self-sufficiency during the transition from coalition to Iraqi-led operations in support of the security agreement between the government of Iraq and the United States."
(Army Maj. Adrian Henegan and Army Capt. Daniel White serve with Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq's Joint Headquarters Army Advisory Training Team.)