MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia --
Explosive ordnance disposal technicians have one of the most dangerous jobs in the Marine Corps. Their mission could become a little safer thanks to an improved disassembly system that safely defuses ordnance from a greater distance than ever before.
EOD techs from Marine Corps units in Virginia and Maryland recently converged at the Quantico Explosive Ordinance Disposal Compound to see the system in action, and then audited the newly designed training course prior to the tool’s release Corps wide.
The Remote Fuze Disassembly System, or RFDS, managed by Marine Corps Systems Command, is a modified mill and lathe machine that can be operated at a safer distance in case of a detonation. Besides increased standoff, EOD techs will appreciate the system’s upgraded remote operator controls and machine assembly, which now includes a lathe turning feature.
The MCSC EOD program management team works closely with the EOD community to develop solutions for the operating forces. This not only includes providing gear and equipment, but the right training package to go along with it.
“It’s critical to get input from the end user on what the training package should include,” said Master Sgt. Clifford Farmer II, project officer for EOD equipment within MCSC’s Combat Support Systems.
As a program office of MCSC—the Marine Corps acquisition command for ground weapon and information technology systems—CSS provides acquisition and lifecycle management of EOD equipment and new equipment training to Marine operating forces.
Staff Sgt. Jason McKinney, an EOD instructor and technician, helped provide training on all of the job tasks of the RFDS.
“This training and demo gives Marines the opportunity to get their hands on the machinery and test the equipment themselves,” McKinney said.
A fielding decision on the RFDS could come in early 2016. Once the training package is finalized and approved it will be uploaded to the Unit Training Assistance Program website. It will also become part of the Marine Corps advanced EOD training curriculum.
Farmer expressed his gratitude to the EOD team at Quantico for providing the location and the majority of the students for the event, as well as the Marines from Precision Weapon Systems for providing technical machining expertise.
“Without their support this event could not have happened,” he said.
The mission of the Marine Corps EOD is to support the Marine Air Ground Task Force, supporting Establishment, Homeland Defense and Special Operations Forces, by locating, accessing, identifying, rendering safe, neutralizing and disposing of hazards from foreign and domestic, Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive, Unexploded Explosive Ordnance , Improvised Explosive Device , and Weapons of Mass Destruction that present a threat to operations, installations, personnel or materiel.