12/28/05 — SJAFB unveils new equipment for bomb squad

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SJAFB unveils new equipment for bomb squad

By Turner Walston
Published in News on December 28, 2005 1:49 PM

New technology unveiled at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base last week will help bomb defusion experts to more easily and safely disarm explosives.

With bomb attacks a severe problem for U.S. forces in Iraq, the advances in equipment to defuse such explosive devices will be crucial to saving lives, said Col. Mike Holmes, the commander of the 4th Fighter Wing.

Holmes observed a demonstration of the new equipment by the wing's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team a few days before Christmas.

The Bomb Squad Emergency Response Vehicle, or BSERV, is the team's newest tool. Designed with input by current and retired bomb technicians, the BSERV is built on a fire truck chassis. The vehicle gives bomb squad technicians a way to safely neutralize an explosive device.

The BSERV contains a Remote Ordnance Neutralization System, or bomb-disarming robot. The robot can be deployed from a ramp in the rear of the BSERV, and controlled from inside the truck. Cameras allow technicians to safely inspect and neutralize threats from monitors inside the truck.

Exterior monitors allow local officials to remotely observe the disarming process, without worry of interfering with technicians inside the vehicle. Bomb suits and tools are stored in the workspace behind the truck's cab.

The Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team also obtained a Segway Human Transporter, which can be stored in a rear compartment of the BSERV. The Segway rapidly transports technicians from the BSERV while wearing the bomb suits, which can weigh up to 100 pounds.

The BSERV is capable of towing a total containment vessel, which provides containment for the safe detonation of small explosives.

Master Sgt. Larry Price, EOD flight chief, said the BSERV represents a major step forward in disarming technology.

"For years, we worked with antiquated tools," he said. The new equipment moves the bomb squad into the 21st century, he said.

Holmes said the new equipment will enable bomb disposal personnel to better deal with explosive devices they likely would encounter in the field.

"Our enemy in Iraq is always changing their methods with their explosives, and how they detonate. These guys have to stay on top of that," Holmes said.

"It opens up what our possibilities are," Staff Sgt. Randy Saltzmann said of the BSERV. The vehicle replaces "basically, a bread truck," Saltzmann added.

The BSERV is able to be deployed in C-5 or C-17 transport planes.

In addition to disarming bombs in theaters of war, members of the Seymour Johnson bomb squad can also be called by local law enforcement officials to respond if explosives pose a danger.