War News Updates: The Afghan Taliban Are Starting To Use Bigger Bombs

The July 8 roadside explosion that killed six Army soldiers in Afghanistan has analysts worried that the Taliban are turning to bigger homemade bombs to take down the best armored U.S. vehicles.

What is particularly troubling to the military is that the enemy was able to penetrate the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, whose V-shaped hull disperses a blast away from the troops inside.

A military source said in an interview that the July 8 bomb likely was a huge fertilizer-based homemade device hidden in a culvert close to where the vehicle passed. An enemy tactic is to place a bomb underneath or alongside a road and detonate it with a remote electronic signal, such as from a cellphone.

via War News Updates: The Afghan Taliban Are Starting To Use Bigger Bombs.

There is always a race between armor and warhead.

To overcome the IED threat to lightly armored Humvees, the Army went with the up-armored Humvee. The enemy began using larger IEDs. Hence the MRAP. And now the enemy uses ever larger IEDs.

But there are costs associated with this escalation. On our side, we see huge financial costs for the vehicles, and a large tactical cost in the limited mobility of MRAPs offroad.

But the enemy pays a price as well. Larger IEDs take more time and effort to emplace, leaving the planters more vulnerable to detection and destruction, and lowering the overall number of bombs they can plant. Further, the larger IEDs are more likely to be detected (though, sadly, that was not the case in this instance).

Tactics, techniques, and procedures evolve on both sides. I don’t think any leadership is particularly surprised by these Taliban efforts.