Airman Christopher Roy knew he wanted to join the Air Force and serve as an EOD tech pretty early on.
“I learned about EOD when I was about 11 years old or so,” Roy said, “so I had an idea that I wanted to join the Air Force and be an EOD tech.”
Roy enlisted in the Air Force and went through EOD preliminary school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas and then spent eight months at the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin to achieve his goal.
An assignment to the EOD flight at Eglin Air Force Base has him in a rare position – he gets to use one of the Air Force’s two new EOD robots – the L3 Harris T7. The Air Force has ordered approximately 170 robots for EOD techs like Roy to use – at a cost of about $400,000 per unit.
The robot has a top speed of about five miles per hour, a robotic arm that can lift 60 pounds when fully extended, and a skid steer track that makes it nimble in the field.
All the specs are great – but the real benefit for Airmen like Roy is the protection the robot offers his fellow airmen.
“It saves my team leader from having to don a bomb suit,” Roy said, “it keeps him out of harm’s way.”
Much of the EOD responsibilities on Eglin Air Force Base revolve around unexploded ordnance that ends up on the range. Adding to the mix; the civilian presence on Eglin’s trails and waterways – it’s essential that EOD have a way to keep the land as clear from unexploded ordnance (UX) as possible.
Currently, the only other T7 in use in the Air Force is located less than 50 miles away – at Hurlburt Field.