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Army EOD Soldiers First to Field Test Unmanned Aerial System

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from the 707th Ordnance Company (EOD) were among the first U.S. Army EOD Soldiers to conduct field testing with the Skyraider Unmanned Aerial System.

EOD Soldiers from the company put the UAS through its paces from a village in Training Area 4 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Aug. 23 – Sept. 2.

According to Capt. William R. Hartman, the commander of the 707th EOD Company, the UAS provided greater visibility of the heavily forested training area.

“They can mostly be used for reconnaissance of terrain and to identify possible explosive hazards,” said Hartman, a native of Reading, Pennsylvania, who has deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Hartman said the UAS was also used to deploy lightweight robots called Throwbots that helped his EOD Soldiers to identify hazards in less accessible areas and structures.

The 707th EOD Company is part of the 3rd EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command. Based 19 installations in 16 states, 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Army’s EOD and CBRN units, as well as the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, 1st Area Medical Laboratory, Nuclear Disablement Teams and Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams.

Soldiers and civilians from the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered command work with joint, interagency and allied partners to defeat CBRNE threats around the world. Since 2003, 20th CBRNE Command EOD Soldiers have partnered with U.S. Navy EOD technicians to disable hundreds of thousands of improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hartman said the highlight of the fielding was connecting Light Detection and Ranging or LDIR technology to the UAS system and using it to map terrain.

The EOD company commander said the UAS could be a great use in a combat zone.

“We could definitely benefit from its capabilities in that environment,” said Hartman.

By Walter Ham

2 Responses to “Army EOD Soldiers First to Field Test Unmanned Aerial System”

  1. Stickman says:

    707th EOD might want to talk to Picatinny EOD, they have been on the drone idea for a long time. I know they have had some changes in personnel, but FOT section might be the best POC.

    • bc says:

      I think the title is a little misleading. In the sense that of course drones were tested in the past by other EOD components and companies (ie the Flying Trashcan from 10 years ago.) maybe they just meant this particular system, the Skyraider?