AFCEC begins rollout of upgraded EOD imaging tech
By Emily Mifsud, AFIMSC Public Affairs
/ Published July 27, 2021
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Readiness Directorate has begun delivering upgraded portable imaging X-ray systems to explosive ordnance disposal flights around the Air Force.
The new Vidisco Guardian 12 Digital Radiographic X-ray system enhances EOD capabilities by making it easier to view the internal contents of suspicious packages, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance. The first of 53 digital X-ray systems went to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, recently and distribution, along with training events, continues through 2026.
The first training event held in conjunction with the equipment rollout July 22 at Eglin AFB, Florida. Because of proximity, EOD flights from three Florida bases — Eglin, Hurlburt Field and Tyndall — were trained and took delivery of the new systems together.
The Guardian 12 is replacing three commercial off-the-shelf systems serving as interim solutions until the new system is fully deployed. This includes a large system weighing over 99 pounds, that primarily serves as base support and requires a wired connection to operate; an X-ray that serves as the wireless mobility system; and a third system that has been obsolete for several years.
“The new system essentially consolidates all the capabilities of previous systems,” said Dave Hodgson, EOD logistics lead for AFCEC. “It meets all of the requirements necessary to support the mission.”
Tech. Sgt. Quentin Tubbs and other EOD technicians with the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron at Dover AFB, Delaware, understand the value of the new equipment and are looking forward to receiving it next month.
“The digital X-ray technology will make a world of difference for our EOD forces,” said Tubbs. “It will increase the reliability of capturing clear and concise images and reduce the amount of time we have to spend next to hazardous devices.”
Compared to the analog technology of the previous systems, the digital X-ray technology provides a much sharper and clearer image, making it easier to detect explosives such as IEDs or unexploded ordnance, he said.
Featuring both wired and wireless technology, the new technology combines the capabilities of the off-the-shelf systems currently in use. The wireless capabilities enable remote image capture and can reduce the amount of time Airmen spend in close proximity to potentially deadly devices, Tubbs said.
“With the older systems, every time we took an image, we had to go down range and retrieve a panel, bring it back and run it through a machine to verify if the X-ray worked. Many times, we thought a good image was captured only to realize later there was something dense in the way blocking the image.”
The new digital radiographic X-ray system also includes features to improve resiliency. It is lightweight at less than 22 pounds and is housed in a compact carrying case for easy mobilization for fly away missions. The system is also designed to work in extreme temperatures, ranging from minus 14 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Procuring the new systems was an Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center collaborative effort between AFCEC and the Air Force Installation Contracting Center’s 772nd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron. The $30 million acquisition puts 331 new systems in the hands of EOD Airmen by 2026.
“We’re committed to ensuring our EOD forces have the training, equipment and resources required to accomplish their duties in garrison and down range,” said Hodgson. “The new systems will allow Airmen to conduct missions safely, rapidly and effectively.”