The U.S. Air Force’s 96th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., has received the first of 170 L3Harris [LHX] T7 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robots to be fielded at Air Force bases globally.
Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) said that the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., has also received the T7 and, like the 96th Test Wing, has begun training with it.
Last September, the Air Force awarded L3Harris a 10-year contract worth up to $85 million for the T7s, which are to replace the two decade-old Northrop Grumman [NOC] F6A robot, which saw service during the second Iraq War to disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“The F6A is nearing the end of its lifecycle,” per AFMC. Dennis Carson, the EOD logistics program manager at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, said in a statement that the T7 can handle larger hazardous devices than the F6A in less time.
In addition, the 710-pound T7 has twice as many cameras with significantly higher resolution, can lift objects five times as heavy as the 485-pound F6A can, has four times the battery life of the F6A, and has nearly 10 times the radio reach of the F6A, according to Carson.
According to L3Harris, the T7 can lift more than 250 pounds near the robot’s chassis.
The company said that it developed the T7 for commercial and military missions, including hazardous materials cleanup, EOD, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and police special weapons and tactics (SWAT) missions.
The Air Force contract for the T7s followed L3Harris’ completion of Project STARTER under which L3Harris delivered 122 T7s for EOD to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, the company said.