Military personnel from 12 NATO and partner nations are testing their Force Protection Electronic Counter Measure systems at the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia.

Director Exercise Thor’s Hammer, Commander Matthew Carroll of the ADF’s Joint Counter Improvised Threat Task Force, said the work being carried out from October to early November was at the cutting edge of counter improvised explosive device (IED) technology.

The systems can prevent the detonation of remote-controlled IEDs and also defeat small unmanned aerial systems, or "drones", that can be used to drop explosive devices or conduct surveillance.

“Exercise Thor’s Hammer is critical for protecting against current and emerging improvised threats,” Commander Carroll said.

“The findings and collaboration during this activity will potentially save the lives of military personnel from Australia and other countries when they’re on operations.”

“By working together here with other nations we can share our knowledge and develop solutions much more quickly and efficiently than if each country was working by itself.”

The largest number of participating nations are attending this year’s exercise, with more than 100 military personnel and scientific researchers involved from countries including Australia, the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom and France.

Researchers from Defence Science and Technology are supporting the exercise – the first time it has been held in Australia. The previous two exercises were held in northern Europe.

The 12 nations are working together to ensure their various force protection systems can operate effectively together when employed within the same operational area.

Mike Martin was injured by a roadside bomb while he was serving with the United States Army in Iraq in 2005. In the same year his nephew was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Mr Martin is now a researcher with the US Army and is working on counter-IED technology at Exercise Thor’s Hammer.

“I’m passionate about developing solutions to protect warfighters against the IED threat,” Mr Martin said.

“By working together here with other nations we can share our knowledge and develop solutions much more quickly and efficiently than if each country was working by itself.”