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How L3Harris Robots Help Unleash High-Power Disruptors’ Potential

Why do EOD teams shy away from high-recoil disruptors?

Historically, without bomb disposal robots, EOD teams would utilise the most powerful disruptors possible to access and defeat explosive threats quickly and efficiently. While powerful enough to readily achieve mission success, the downside was that EOD experts in protective disposal suits would typically place these disruptors by hand, still putting lives at risk. 

Military and security officials introduced robots to alleviate this risk to life by keeping EOD personnel out of harm’s way. Disruptors were instead mounted onto these robots, aimed and fired remotely from a safe distance. The issue with this approach was that many robots were not sufficiently robust or resilient enough to handle the blast from high-power disruptors, and would often break or get damaged. This is still true today – a lot of robots available on the market are simply not built for the kind of power provided by disruptors such as HOTROD and PIGSTICK, used within the UK, and PAN, in the U.S

EOD teams therefore began to make compromises rather than risk any costly or debilitating damage to the robot and instead started to turn to one of two options:

Low-recoil disruptors

A less-powerful alternative to their high-recoil equivalents, low-recoil disruptors don’t produce as much recoil but also don’t put as much energy on target, reducing the blast’s overall impact effectiveness. Multiple shots are required to achieve what a high-recoil disruptor could generally do in one. 

Recoilless disruptors

These disruptors fire their energy out both the front and the rear of the disruptor with the aim of both blasts cancelling each other out and eliminating any recoil. The issue is a lot of this energy then goes in the wrong direction; half into the target and half wasted out of the back. Some disruptors even take a ‘slip-grip’ approach to mounting, allowing the disruptor to jettison out of the back once fired. This runs the risk of causing damage to anything behind the robot due to the dangerous projectile it ejects, as well as to the robot itself, which happens often. Recoilless disruptors can be mechanically complex, making them ultimately more expensive and less reliable.

Neither of these options are a suitable substitute for the power, efficiency and reliability provided by high-recoil disruptors. L3Harris’ approach ensures EOD teams don’t have to compromise to achieve mission success. T7 and T4 robots are purpose-built to handle the intensity of these essential tools. 

T7 Disruptor

What challenges do robots solve when using high-recoil disruptors?


The majority of larger robots currently on the market today are not sufficiently equipped to deal with and protect against the sheer power exuded by high-recoil disruptors upon firing, which can cause significant damage. As a result, it’s even less likely that mid-sized robots are ever harnessed to fire these types of disruptors, as their arms don’t have the strength or flexibility to absorb the recoil. 

T4 is the first mid-sized robot in the world able to fire high-recoil disruptors repeatedly without taking damage. Despite its compact size, its arm is exceedingly strong and able to lift payloads of up to 55 kg while still remaining sufficiently precise for more intricate tasks. Able to accommodate HOTROD, PIGSTICK and PAN disruptors, it offers outstanding resilience to recoil forces. Thanks to multiple patented recoil-absorbing technologies, both the T4 and T7 manipulator arms can take a lot of impact, offering significant durability and flexibility ideal for survivability in the field.


As most disruptors are fairly heavy, they limit how much weight a robot arm is physically able to lift. This means many larger robots are frequently unable to carry both a disruptor and an additional payload at the same time, let alone be carried at all by most mid-sized robotic systems. 

Both T4 and T7 have outstanding manipulator strength, enabling them to have multiple disruptors mounted while still lifting heavy loads. Moreover, T4’s unique omni-directional stabilisers provide added stability, enabling it to extend its arm to the side to fire at targets without any risk of toppling.


Typically, the wrist of a robot arm is weaker than the middle or base of the arm, so very often other robots will mount disruptors to the robot’s forearm to best negate the impact of the recoil. While this approach reduces damage, it significantly reduces the robot’s ability to position and orient the disruptors. As a result, operators may not be able to align the disruptors to achieve the desired effect on the target.

T4 and T7 both mount disruptors at the end of the arm alongside the robot’s gripper, improving aiming flexibility and enabling high-power to be available at maximum reach and optimum angles. This ensures that even devices placed on high shelves or in overhead bins can be accurately disrupted. 

L3Harris’ robust, ruggedised and highly reliable T7 and T4 robots help EOD operators realise the full potential of high-power disruptors. They make it possible to achieve accurate and impressive power on target without the risk of damage to the robot, offering all of the precision, durability and dexterity required to maximise mission success