Hurlburt Field 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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 Additionally, the robot features enhanced capabilities when it comes to vertical and horizontal reach, among other improvements, including an extended battery life.
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. Pineda said that With this new robot, it’s larger – it can interrogate vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and vans 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.
Based on the inputs of hundreds of users, L3Harris has developed the T7 robot from the ground up to support the demanding requirements of commercial and military missions, including hazardous materials (HAZMAT) cleanup, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) missions. Its rugged, automotive-grade track system provides outstanding mobility and maneuverability. A variety of attachments enable use of standard-issue sensors, disruptors, and tools, supporting a wide range of commercial and military missions, including HAZMAT and vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) defeat.