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Posted 01.31.08


$3 million federal grant to help remotely detect and disable improvised explosive devices

COLUMBIA, MO - A University of Missouri researcher is slated to receive $3 million in federal funds to help develop a technology that would remotely detect and disarm explosive devices.

Randy Curry, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the MU College of Engineering and director of MU's Center for Physical and Power Electronics, has been working with Boeing Company's Advanced Global Strike Systems division for two years to develop technology capable of remotely countering explosive devices. The $3 million program to help refine that technology is included in the 2008 U.S. Department of Defense budget.

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"The technology we're developing is designed to remotely detect and disable explosive devices in both rural and urban environments," Curry said. "The envisioned system will operate from safe distances."

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have plagued troops on the Iraqi battlefield, and many consider IEDs an increasing threat to homeland security. In November, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said such devices are the No. 1 cause of deaths in Iraq and announced that he had secured funding for the MU project.

"This is a critical issue that demands our best technical solutions," said Rick Martin, director of Boeing's Advanced Global Strike Systems. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to take this technology to the next level with our partners at Mizzou."

Curry said the counter-explosive technology is based on research conducted during the past five years at the MU Center for Physical and Power Electronics, which houses equipment available at only one other U.S. university. MU's counter-explosive project prompted construction of a new 6,000 square foot building for the research program.

The MU project is part of a $55 million bond initiative that will finance several Missouri-based military projects.



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