BRUSSELS, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The European Defense Agency has launched a new program aiming to develop technologies for detecting and neutralizing improvised explosive devices.
EDA officials allocated $15 million for the three-year program, officially known as IED Detection or IEDDET. The effort is supported by four EDA member states including Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland.
Norway, a non-EU state that signed an Administrative Arrangement pact with the defense bloc, also lent its support.
The program consists of three main projects. The first aims to develop forward-looking camera systems for remotely operated unmanned ground vehicles, or UGVs. The second project will facilitate the development of new UGV standoff and detection capabilities using multi-sensory platforms.
For the third project, researchers and manufacturers will develop early warning and detection technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
In a statement announcing the program's launch, the EDA notes the agency designated IED detection as a top priority in the EDA Capability Development Plan revision in 2014. The new technologies, officials say, will make land forces safer while also enabling greater freedom of movement.
Improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs, are makeshift weapons typically used by paramilitary and guerilla forces. The bombs have frequently been used against U.S. military personnel by insurgent groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other contested regions.