March 30, 2007

EFP Importer Captured

And the Iranian dominoes in Iraq continue to fall:

U.S. and Iraqi forces detained a suspect linked to networks bringing sophisticated roadside bombs into Iraq during a raid Friday in the main Shiite district in Baghdad.


The suspect, who was detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces during a raid in the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City, was believed to be tied to networks bringing the weapons known as explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, into Iraq, the military said.

It did not name the suspect or the groups he was accused of having ties to, but the U.S. military has asserted in recent months that Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Quds force have been providing Shiite militias with weapons and parts for sophisticated armor-piercing bombs. The EFPs are responsible for the deaths of more than 170 American and coalition soldiers since mid-2004, the military says.

The most important "nugget" to be gleaned from these three short paragraphs is that the man who was apprehended was part of a network importing explosively-formed penetrators into Iraq.

There are those on the political left here in the United States who have attempted to provide Iran with a figleaf for their involvement, implying that the EFPs used against American forces were indigenous weapons because some captured EFPs were made using some components—primarily the short sections of pipe used to form the canister containing the copper disk and explosive charge—that came from various parts of Iraq and other countries in the region. The man captured was part of a network smuggling in completed munitions, not components.

I'd also note that Judi was wrong in his the terminology he used to describe the weapons the network was smuggling in to Iraq. Sadly, this is a consistent problem among Associated Press reporters. I'll give Judi the same advice I gave his superior, Kim Gamel: Learn the Tech, or Take up Baking.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 30, 2007 12:33 PM

I find this whole EFP concept fascinating. I'd never heard of them before I read about them here. It seems hardly possible that a can with explosive in it could be so intricately controlled that the explosion could turn the lid of the can into a missile-shaped projectile (am I understanding the whole thing correctly?), but I guess someone figured out a way.

What I don't get is where they're set up. Are they buried in the street and shoot up into cars? How does the whole aiming thing work?

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 30, 2007 07:10 PM

EFPs are placed to shoot laterally, not vertically. Aiming them is not all that difficult, in that they are typically placed very close to the side of the road. To make the chances of a hit higher, they are occasionally placed in clusters, each pointed in a slightly different direction for more of a shotgun-type effect.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 30, 2007 10:45 PM

Doc, you just need to read more science fiction; David Drake was describing them in his "Hammer's Slammers" series years ago. ;-)

Hard science fiction these days is more like someone's 5 or 10 year product research proposal.

Posted by: SDN at April 1, 2007 01:45 PM