Cyprus

RAF Akrotiri Bomb Disposal Personnel Get New £600,000 Robot

Joint Logistic Squadron has been using the state-of-the-art improvised explosive device disposal device.

Bomb disposal operators in Cyprus have been using a new state-of-the-art bomb disposal robot.

Operators from Joint Logistic Squadron have been using the improvised explosive device (IED) disposal robot, which is worth £600,000 and has a camera twice as powerful as their previous model.

Corporal Joseph Poole, Ammunition Troop, RAF Akrotiri, said the latest robot gives a "much clearer image" of the situation when called out to a suspect device.

Each year, bomb disposal operators are tested and, if they fail, they are taken off the team.

Personnel undertaking the test used the new robot to find and dispose of fake IEDs that have been planted around Akrotiri.

Staff Sergeant Paul Daniel, 2IC, Ammunition Troop, RAF Akrotiri, was one of those up for examination while using the new robot.

Every move he makes is monitored is assessed, and he must figure out what the devices are and how to make them safe - with a car bomb the most challenging device of the day.

Personnel were being tested with the new state of the art robot near the Cyprus base.

Personnel are required to figure out exactly what they are dealing with and how best to approach it.

After cutting the link to it, personnel remove the main charge from the boot of the car.

Wearing a bomb suit weighing nearly 50kg, they must then make sure the area is safe and recover components for forensic analysis.

SSgt Daniel said: "I'm proud to be a bomb disposal operator.

"I heard a quote a number of years ago that said" 'Once a bomb is produced and made there's only two ways that it gets gone,' and that it either functions and kills someone, or a bomb disposal operator diffuses it."

With all tests being passed, the examiner was pleased with the new technology as well as the personnel.

Major Mark Dean, Senior Ammunition Technical Officer, British Forces Cyprus, said: "It's made it much quicker for the operators to respond.

"The robot can get down the road quickly and the new cameras are excellent, so the number two - the person operating and driving that robot - could really be able to trace the command wire, follow it to find out where the power source was for that device."