EFPs AND IRAN….Andrew Cockburn reports on how to make Explosively Formed Penetrators, the subject of much administration backpedaling recently:

In November, U.S. troops raiding a Baghdad machine shop came across a pile of copper disks, 5 inches in diameter, stamped out as part of what was clearly an ongoing order. This ominous discovery, unreported until now, makes it clear that Iraqi insurgents have no need to rely on Iran as the source of EFPs.

The truth is that EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it. Far from a sophisticated assembly operation that might require state supervision, all that is required is one of those disks, some high-powered explosive (which is easy to procure in Iraq) and a container, such as a piece of pipe. I asked a Pentagon analyst specializing in such devices how much each one would cost to make. “Twenty bucks,” he answered after a brief calculation. “Thirty at most.”

As Cockburn says, EFPs have been a favorite tool of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is one reason to suspect that Iran has had a hand in supplying EFPs to Iraq as well. But if they’re being manufactured in Baghdad machine shops, that puts things in rather a different light. Odd that the administration has been slow to publicize this, isn’t it?

For more, see David Hambling at Defense Tech, who describes what modern EFPs look like and suggests that “if EFP mines were being supplied by an outside source, you might expect to see something a lot slicker.”