DRDC provides scientific support to Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER

DRDC scientist instructs soldiers on the use of advanced search equipment.
DRDC scientist Dr. Scott Irvine works with Canadian and Dutch soldiers during the force integration training phase of Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER 2018, instructing on the use of advanced search equipment. Photo: Master Corporal Jax Kennedy, Directorate of Army Public Affairs

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By Dr. Scott E. Irvine and Dr. Anthony A. Faust, Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield Research Centre

The Canadian Army’s annual Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER 2018 took place at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden and 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford, Ontario from October 1-19, 2018. This year, scientific staff from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) deployed to the exercise for the first time.

Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER is the only Counter Explosive Threat (CET) exercise in the world where over 350 personnel from 25 nations gather in a complex contemporary operating environment. DRDC counter explosive hazard experts demonstrated new technologies and obtained feedback from CET operators and tactical exploiters, which will shape future research to advance the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) CET capacity in support of Canada’s Defense Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.

“We have identified new investigative avenues that will address operator feedback, ultimately improving the development of technologies” says Dr. Scott Irvine, of DRDC Suffield Research Centre (DRDC SRC). “We have learned a great deal about the operational considerations involved in countering explosive threats,” he added.

Mr. Tyson Josey and Ms. Patricia Desgagnés, DRDC SRC, provided demonstrations and on-site training on unique CET tools under development. Dr. Sylvain Désilets, DRDC Valcartier Research Centre (DRDC VRC) worked with the operators of the modular forensic laboratory known as the Deployable Technical Analysis Laboratory (DTAL).

“I had the opportunity to observe and advise on some of the analysis techniques and future developments of laboratory technologies. It was very informative to see all the hard work involved in gathering and processing forensic evidence. I look forward to next year,” said Dr. Désilets.

In the evenings, DRDC participants including Dr. Jean-François Daigle, DRDC VRC, provided a series of professional development lectures shedding light on the science behind technologically advanced CET capabilities.

The exercise also provided a valuable backdrop for Dr. Anthony Faust, DRDC SRC, who hosted the NATO team of experts on Technologies for Military Search from October 9 to 12. Seven nations participated with the shared goal of drafting NATO standards to improve allied CET capability and interoperability.

“Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER brings together many aspects of the counter explosive threat cycle. DRDC’s presence brings the long-neglected science facet to the CAF CET community. This facet is critical to providing a deeper understanding of our equipment and the human factors related to CET operations. Access to hundreds of CET operators from so many nations provides DRDC and the CAF with a unique chance to demonstrate and trial new equipment and concepts, and gain first-hand feedback,” noted Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Peril, exercise director.

“This was DRDC’s first significant participation in this exercise series, and it proved to be a great learning experience for us. Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER will continue to provide an excellent venue for DRDC to demonstrate, validate and improve emerging technologies with the operators who will be using them,” said Dr. Irvine.

Image gallery

  • Group photo of the NATO Team of Experts on Technologies for Military Search
  • DRDC scientist instructs soldiers on the use of advanced search equipment.
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