The new GASKET 3 bomb disposal vehicle’s Initial Operating Capability (IOC) was announced this week, following extensive consultations with the soldiers who will be using the new vehicle.
GASKET 3 deployed on its first operational tasking on Tuesday 20 September supporting Staffordshire police, with soldiers disposing of a recovered hand-grenade.
The vehicle is the final addition to the GASKET fleet, part of a £60 million project that sees a range of 300 new vehicles from first response vehicles to a new 4X4 medium scale vehicle.
Introduced at the Defence Vehicle Demonstration, the GASKET 3 will be used by 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search (EOD&S) Regiment and the Diving Threat Exploitation Group (DTXG) of the Royal Navy who provide EOD cover UK wide.
Operations Group Centre, formed of 721 EOD Squadron and Bravo Diving Unit 1 form the IOC grouping. They deal with all explosive incidents in the Midlands and south-east in support of the civilian emergency services. Threats could include disarming Second World War bombs to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), to Sea Mines.
Corporal Briscoe of 621 EOD Squadron said: “The new GASKET vehicle is great, a massive improvement on our current vehicle. We did notice that our Vehicle-Borne IED disruptor could be in a better place for quick access and our suggestions were included in the final design.”
The GASKET Three is based on the Mercedes Benz Atego, extensively modified for EOD by Cambridge based Marshall Land Systems, and will ensure Army and Navy EOD Operators keeps on doing what they do best – keeping the country safe.
GASKET Three is the Heavy EOD response vehicle and carries the STARTER bomb disposal RCV and bespoke EOD equipment such as the Mk Six bomb suit, X-ray equipment and other specialist tools. It gives a real upgrade in terms of capability, enabling EOD operations to be delivered with maximum efficiency and safety.
Warrant Officer Class Two Baskerville of 11 EOD&S Regt said: “During trials we found the rain cover provided was a little complex and time consuming to put up. I’ve been assessing the new design from Marshalls and it has really improved. It’s great that user feedback has made an actual difference.”
Development of the GASKET programme – containing four separate vehicle projects - began six years ago. GASKET One and Two started to roll off the production line in 2020. The fleet was built to reach remote locations fast whilst also meeting the security of the team.