Hi-tech bomb disposal vehicle arouses interest overseas

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 October, 1997, 12:00am

The world's first bomb disposal duty vehicle is in service, with the design sparking interest from overseas police forces.

The six-wheeled vehicle, designed by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau's senior bomb disposal officer, Dominic Brittain, over the past four years, has been in service since June.

The bureau now has four such vehicles, manufactured in Scotland and costing more than $1 million each.

'Several countries like Britain and Australia have expressed interest in copying the design,' Mr Brittain said.

With armoured blankets fixed to the sides to protect officers from any explosion, the vehicle can be turned into a command post from which to control remote control robots.

It is also equipped with a television set linked to the robots' cameras, which can also be stored inside the vehicle.

Updated intelligence can be transmitted to the car's computer or its fax machine.

Mr Brittain said he designed the vehicle in an attempt to end the difficulties faced by bomb disposal officers when the robots were carried by normal police vehicles.

'The old vehicles gave a lot of frustration. They were not strong enough [to carry the heavy robots],' Mr Brittain said.

'And there is no lighting system.' The new vehicle could carry up to three tonnes, with a tail lift to load or unload heavy equipment, he said.