National Guard Blows Up Drone With Lunch Box Bomb During Training

Doling out Swift justice

Look, I’m not going to beat the lede from the New York National Guard, so here it is in full:

The drone, the robot, the lunch box, and the explosive device were part of an exercise called Raven’s Challenge. (The lunch box appears to have actually been one from the film Frozen, and not a Taylor Swift lunchbox. I know, I’ll all shook up about it too). Besides the New York Army National Guard, 18 bomb squads from across the federal government, New York and other states, and even Canada took part. The challenge, sponsored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is in its 12th year, and provides a way for explosive ordnance disposal teams (as bomb squads are formally known) to tackle challenges with stakes lower than life-or-death. Essentially, it’s a conference for troubleshooting the worst days on the job.

Raven’s Challenge is just one of several bomb squad exercises, where teams practice for real-world problems and engineers watch to see how they can make robots that do the job better. Sometimes that leads to a whole new category of robots, like this car-transporting one. Sometimes they come up with a new piece of gear, like for 3D scanning the insides of opaque containers. And other times, the improvisation is wholly unrelated to the bomb at all, like the bomb squad robot that delivered pizza to a man in distress and calmed him down.

Check out more images from the Raven’s Challenge below:

Remote Blast Destroys Suspected Bomb

From New York National Guard: “A charge ignites a remotely fired shotgun-like device which blasts a suspected bomb…”

Bomb Squad Robot Drives Up Ramp

From New York National Guard: “A bomb disposal robot drives up a ramp piloted by New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Russ…”

Bomb Squad Robot Lifts Weights

From New York National Guard: “A remotely-piloted bomb disposal robot hefts a package filled with 150 pounds of steel weight plates during a ‘robot rodeo’ in training May 18.”

Remotely Blowing Up A Backpack

From the New York National Guard: “A shotgun-like device, remotely fired from explosive ordinance disposal technicians, blows up a backpack during training May 18.”
Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.