Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Members of the RAF's 5131 (Bomb Disposal) Squadron have been preparing for their deployment to Helmand in March.
There they will be taking part in the fight against IEDs and reducing their threat to UK and Afghan forces.
In 2009, 75 per cent of UK casualties in Afghanistan were a result of improvised explosive devices. Reducing this sad tally has now become the main effort for Defence as Colonel Robert Herring, Assistant Head of Joint EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and Search, explained:
"IEDs kill and injure a large number of both Afghan civilians and UK forces.
"To that end the MOD has been putting a significant amount of investment in resources to do something about it and it has been made Defence's highest priority.
"There is no single solution, there is no panacea. There is no equipment solution, no technological solution or particular way of operating that will solve the problem. It is a multi-faceted approach to solving the problem."
As part of that multi-faceted approach, the team from 5131 (Bomb Disposal) Squadron will, on the front line in Helmand, be responding to notifications from units on the ground of possible IED finds.
Working together with a search team from 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD), who will be tasked to identify and secure the device, the RAF bomb disposal experts will use technological aids such as the Dragon Runner robot to confirm, disarm and remove the device - thereby freeing up the route for other forces and Afghan locals.
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