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Mizzou Engineering working to disarm growing threat

Photo courtesy of Wyoming National Guard

Randy Curry, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the 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 on technology capable of remotely countering explosive devices. The $3 million program to help refine that technology is included in the 2008 Defense Department budget.

“The technology we’re developing is designed to remotely detect and disable explosive devices in both rural and urban environments.”—Randy Curry

“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 stand-off distances.”

Improvised explosive devices have long plagued troops on the Iraqi battlefield, and many consider them an increasing threat to homeland security. In November, Sen. Kit Bond, R–Mo. and 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 last five years at the Center for Physical and Power Electronics, which houses equipment available at only one other U.S. university. Indeed, MU’s counter–explosive project prompted construction of a new 6000 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.