JIEDDO IED blast 2007
A Stryker lies on its side after surviving a buried IED blast in 200 (CREDIT: PD-USGOV-MILITARY-ARMY)

The Army Research Lab and the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) took a big step for Department of Defense and industry relations last week with the “Culvert Denial Challenge.”

The challenge consisted of testing “small ground and air unmanned assets aimed at detecting improvised explosive devices in culverts in subterranean environments,” according to Defense News.

The “Culvert Denial Challenge,” which took place at Ft. Benning, Ga., from Sept. 29 to Oct. 10, was aimed at denying a potential enemy access to implant improvised explosive devices in road culverts, a particularly nasty problem encountered by NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan.

The event brought together 20 commercial vendors from industry to show off their wares, and to compete to collaborate with the government on future technology maturation projects.

Matthew Way, a program integrator at JIEDDO, told Defense News that adding a IDIQ contract around the event was the biggest step for moving forward with industry communications.

“DARPA and NASA and other offices that have had the authority to do prizes and competitions do this all the time, but for us to be able to use the current federal acquisition regulations and construct it around [the] challenge we felt was a big success,” Way said.

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