Dissident republican groups now have the capability to detonate bombs by remote control, police chiefs believe.
A 600lb device found on the outskirts of Newry a week and a half ago could have been set off by someone in the area with a transmitter, according to reports.
Assistant PSNI Chief Constable Drew Harris told this newspaper that the technology involved is a “step up” for the terrorists.
Police had already said the device in a white Citroen Berlingo van, which was spotted by a member of the public, was “ready to go”.
Mr Harris added that it was designed to kill and was to be detonated with a remote transmitter.
“Anyone close to that bomb, had it exploded, would not have survived,” Mr Harris stated.