Kicking down doors is high risk in the fight against terrorism because insurgents are likely to rig trap doors, tunnels or entry ways with lethal explosives, officials say.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight of the 96th Civil Engineer Group, the largest and busiest of all the service’s EOD units, gave Military.com a glimpse into its standard training center during a recent tour at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
EOD techs may soon use lasers to dispose of explosive devices, said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Schott, superintendent of Eglin’s 96th Civil Engineer Group.
“The next step in our technology — that’s actually been proven, and we’re just maturing it now — is lasers,” Schott said during a Nov. 17 interview.
“The problem of why it took so long to mature is the amount of wattage needed in a laser to disrupt an ordnance item causes so much heat, it required too much air conditioning,” he said. “But they’ve got it down small enough now where the laser will disrupt an ordnance item and not require so much cooling.”
The first place technicians intend to test it is during an air base recovery mode mission exercise, Schott said.
The plan is to position the lasers “on top of an MRAP,” or Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, he said.
“We’re finalizing the self-target part of [the lasers] where you don’t have to zoom in and target each [IED], but [that] it will do that kind of for you,” Schott said. “The longest part is burning through the ordnance, and the idea is to burn through the outer case of it, and get the inside to not detonate, but to burn out.”
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