The Slovakian EOD Training School Plays it Safe with Vidisco
An interview with a Commander at the Slovakian EOD School
By Rachel Lieberman
The Slovakian EOD School trains bomb squads in the NATO countries. Speed, accuracy and safety are of the essence when EOD’s are involved. Up until 2 years ago, the Slovakian EOD Training School used films for X-raying suspect items. The X-ray process was long, often requiring more than one approach to get just a single image.
Due to this cumbersome handling, the Slovakian EOD Training School decided to transfer to Vidisco’s digital X-ray products. A Commander at the school, whose name will remain anonymous, underwent Vidisco’s “Train the Trainer” course prior to working with the systems. He notes: “Previously, although the use of robots increased the distance from the object, the process took too long, and time is critical when dealing with explosives. Vidisco’s X-ray systems enabled us to achieve several goals: We were able to instantly acquire numerous high-resolution X-ray images in a single robot approach by assembling Vidisco’s FoXrayII and FoX-Rayzor digital X-ray systems with Allen Vangaurd’s Defender 2 and DigAVG robots. This provided us with a variety of important tools that are very helpful in complex EOD missions.”
A portable unit allows inspecting suspect items in many urban scenarios
The systems’ portability is a major advantage: “In my experience the X-ray system must be portable to fully support the EOD/IEDD operators’ action. First of all, portability extends the X-ray placing versatility. The detection, identification and evaluation phases of the EOD mission are carried out easily. Having a portable unit allows us to inspect suspect items in many urban scenarios.”
Vidisco’s XR-DE module, which can be attached to the FoX-Rayzor (the previous generation of today’s RayzorX system), creates Dual Energy (DE) X-ray imaging with a Golden Engineering pulsed X-ray source and Vidisco digital flat panel based systems (RayzorX, BlazeX, FlashX systems). The fully-automated process enables the bomb tech to differentiate between organic and inorganic materials: Organic materials appear in orange, whereas soft inorganic materials (such as glass) show up in hues of green. Hard inorganic materials (such as metals) are colored in shades of blue. This is a major technological breakthrough in the area of EOD detection because most explosives are made from organic substances.
The commander states: “The Dual Energy technology is a very important development. Aside from the unprecedented ability to detect explosives far more easily, we also use the Dual Energy technology to prepare picture documentation for our EOD IS (Explosive Ordnance Disposal Information System).”
He adds that Vidisco’s proprietary X-bit software is a very helpful tool: “The Vidisco software is a big advantage for us that we did not have in the past. Mostly, we use the adaptive histogram, windows leveling, brightness, contrast, and other image enhancement functions. These can be easily and effectively used in a short period of time to obtain a good image to structure the EOD parts. Using this software, many system operators have built up their own digital database for training and documentation purposes.”
The commander points out that the Vidisco portable X-ray systems have various other crucial benefits: “The systems’ availability for check point inspections using a tripod or assemblage with ROV’s is a major plus. I also like the fact that the digital panel can be positioned easily, saving crucial time and effort.”