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2020 ‘Robot Rodeo’ to showcase some of world’s most advanced life-saving EOD robots

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs) - The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division at Tyndall Air Force Base plays a major role in equipping our nation’s warfighters with life-saving robots. Simply put, this technology keeps men and women out of harm’s way when diffusing a bomb.

One of the best opportunities for EOD leaders to see in action and test some of the world’s most advanced robots is during the annual ‘Robot Rodeo.’

The fifth annual Eastern National ‘Robot Rodeo’ and Capabilities Exercise is expected to continue the event’s tradition of showcasing some of the world’s most specialized explosive ordnance disposal robots and components that are designed to allow the warfighter to work remotely—and therefore, more safely—when diffusing a potential unexploded explosive ordnance.

“Some of the robots are so precise; I can do things with the robots I can’t do with my hands,” SSgt Eric Posey, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD Team Leader; Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, said. “It could definitely keep the warfighter completely away from the device that we’re worried about.”

“It gives the opportunity for industry to test their different products they’ve manufactured—whether it be a robot itself, whether it be an articulating arm, whether it be cameras,” Col Timothy Dodge; Deputy Director; Air Force Civil Engineer Center, said.

AFIMSC’s Air Force Civil Engineer Center is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, the United Kingdom Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head to organize, coordinate, and carry out the event.

“Events like this are extremely important for the UK because it gives us a chance to see a wide range of technologies and capabilities in action,” Kevin Morley; Counter-Terrorism & Security Desk Officer; British Embassy (Washington D.C.), said.

During the annual ‘Robot Rodeo’, U.S. and international military and civilian EOD teams, as well as public safety bomb squads, all compete against each other using these technologically advanced robotic platforms.

“As EOD techs—or bomb techs—we learn pretty fast especially with robot platforms,” SSgt Matthew Ezell; 628th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD Team Leader; Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, said.

The week-long event also provides several scenarios in which these teams work together interoperably so the agencies will be able to function smoothly together in real-world crisis situations.

“We can fight ‘one team/one fight’ and have a resolution that will be successful,” Detective Carl Makins; Robot Rodeo Observer-Controller; Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina, said.

“It further advances the technology available to our public safety and our explosive ordnance disposal bomb squad technicians and just helps save lives in the long run,” Michael “Mic” Carlton; Supervisory Explosives Specialist; T.S.A.; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, said.

This year’s Eastern National Robot Rodeo and Capabilities Exercise is scheduled to be held in and around Indian Head, Maryland, in mid-September.

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