HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
Hurlburt Field has the droids you’re looking for.
The base is among the first in the U.S. Air Force to deploy a new Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot platform, the L3Harris T7 Multi-Mission Robotics System.
As the first two units in the Air Force to begin working with the new platform, Hurlburt EOD, part of the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, trained with Eglin Air Force base’s EOD team Aug. 22 - 26 at Eglin AFB, Florida.
The new platform will be used by EOD units across the Air Force to remotely perform operations on hazardous devices. The T7 will replace the Remotec F6A, a nearly 20-year-old system.
Dennis Carson, EOD logistics program manager and T7 product manager for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, explained that nearly every feature of the T7 has improved capabilities compared to the F6A.
Carson added that the new robot is twice as fast as the F6A, and that it’s capable of lifting objects up to 250 lbs. Additionally, the robot features enhanced capabilities when it comes to vertical and horizontal reach, among other improvements, including an extended battery life.
“All of these features allow the EOD operator to deal with larger hazardous devices in
less time than before, which ultimately improves the safety of EOD personnel,” Carson said.
Hurlburt and Eglin’s EOD teams spent the week learning how to operate the robot, perform preventative maintenance and how to utilize capabilities including traversing slopes, climbing stairs, lifting objects and interrogating vehicles.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Paolo Pineda, an EOD technician with the 1st SOCES at Hurlburt Field, noted that the T7 stands out as a capability upgrade for Air Force EOD.
“With this new robot, it’s larger - it can interrogate vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and vans,” Pineda said. “And then it has the manipulation to be able to even open up a zipper on a backpack.”
Pineda added that the new capabilities can be helpful to respond to situations similar to previous events at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and Travis Air Force Base in California involving attempted gate breaches.
“This will be able to interrogate those vehicles,” Pineda said. “With it being larger and having all of that manipulation, it will cut down our overall mission time when we are on scene.”
In addition to Hurlburt and Eglin’s EOD units, other installations working with the robot in coming weeks include Patrick Space Force Base, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.