Posted by John McHalePARIS, 23 April 2011. French army officials are combating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- roadside bombs -- in part through radio-controlled IED jammers from Thales in Neuilly-sur-seine, France. Vehicles equipped with electronic defense systems can prevent IEDs from exploding when triggered remotely.SIMMT (Structure Integree du Maintien en condition operationnelle des Materiels Terrestres) awarded the contract. SIMMT is the organization responsible for through-life support of the French army's land-based equipment.Thales will provide through-life support of a large portion of the French army's jammers already deployed, by helping manage the supply chain and working alongside troops in theatres of operation.Thales staff in theatre will help train the soldiers on maintaining the jammers. This training, which lasts for one year, is intended to develop the operators' technical skills, and make them more self-reliant regarding their equipment, so that they can carry out advanced maintenance tasks themselves. Thales provides an end-to-end procurement and logistics service for jammer sub-assemblies between France and any external operations zones in which the country's armed services are involved. This service provides guaranteed availability of equipment in any situation."Combating the threat of IEDs is a key priority for the forces present in theatre. Several hundred attacks happen monthly, especially in Afghanistan," says Laurent Maury, Thales vice-president, in charge of Customer Support and Services activities. "Via this support services contract, Thales is actively collaborating with the forces present in external theatres of operation, by making its logistics resources and technical skills available to them, to whatever extent is required."Several contracts, including one awarded to Thales, provide for 400 jammers produced by various manufacturers to be maintained, for a 5-year period.