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DHS-Developed Tool Used for Improvised Bomb Deactivation

1 min read
Power Hawk
Power Hawk

Public safety technicians are deactivating improvised explosive devices, such as pipe bombs, through a tool developed by the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology directorate.

“Our bomb technicians engaged the Power Hawk as a non-energetic means of remotely rendering the pipe bomb safe,” reported deputy Thomas Groff, Bomb Squad Commander with the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office. “We were successful in doing so.”

DHS said Tuesday it provides bomb squads with tools, like Power Hawk, to deactivate IEDs under the Response and Defeat Operations Support (REDOPS) program.

Power Hawk was originally designed as a tool that frees trapped personnel from constraining structures during accidents. S&T and the FBI then assessed the tool's feasibility for use in IED deactivation after reports of the tool being used for that purpose by some state police departments.

Now, the tool works to deactivate bombs without destroying the explosive, allowing for post-incident assessments and forensic examinations. Power Hawk's scissor-like jaws slowly make small fractures that release the pipe bomb's internal pressure, preventing explosive gases from building up.

“Our mission is to support state and local bomb squads (SLBSs) by focusing on collaboratively addressing the homeland’s IED capability gaps, helping develop the best solutions and connecting those solutions to the technicians in the field,” said REDOPS Program Manager Byung Hee Kim.

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