The US Office of Naval Research (ONR), one of the Pentagon's many securo-boffin pork outlets, is having a timely look at dealing with the threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) - military speak for terrorist bombs. It might seem a little odd for the navy to be funding anti-terror-bomb knowhow, but not when you think …
Thunderbirds to the rescue!
Isn't this exactly the scenario posited by the early '60's Brittish marionette show "Thunderbirds"?
Why not just short-circuit the call for papers and spend the US$100 or so for all the T-Birds episodes on DVD, watch them and then let the bacon contracts fly? Cheaper than funding new research, and the requirements are already well defined: after all, all the "DOs" and "DON'Ts" are already laid out in the T-Birds plots...
"...the US Navy maintains a very large force of bomb-disposal operators (many of whom, curiously, are trained as parachutists. Go figure.)"
What goes up must come down ?
"What goes up must come down ?"
LOL! "Ok Guys, we have a call out to a suspected car bomb. Better pack your Chutes. If this gose off under us, we could be thrown a long way."?
Surely this is a job for Lassie ...
... if they can get dogs to sniff out pirate dvds, surely Lassie(s) would be the ideal solution?
unfortunately you'll get all the animal rights nutcases kicking off for putting an animal into harm's way
next they'll be claiming that cos they can smell the dvds they may be emotionally scarred by the content
Fyi -- the quote "This large interest in bomb disposal has led the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technology Division to become something of a lead authority in US military EOD-tech, so much so that it usually orders bomb-nobbling robots for the other three services" -- is misleading -- NAVEODTECHDIV is by design the manager of the joint service EOD program -- EOD is a relatively small program (in terms of military programs go) and by design, DoD assigned the Navy the responsibility to manage the training, R&D, and EOD pubs (i.e. proceedures) for all the Service -- so the fact that NAVEOD is the lead, has nothing to do with the IED threat -- the Navy is the lead becuase they have the mission. This is designed to save time and money and to minimize duplication between services. Each service participants and has a unit at the TECHDIV to support the program so it is indeed a joint service program but as with any military organization, someone has to be the lead / have overall responsibility -- in the case of EOD, it's the Navy.
You were perplexed about why the Navy EOD are parachutists. Navy EOD is the only organizational EOD that is trained in underwater, air, and special ground ops. Although all services have EOD, the Navy is tasked to work with all of the Special Operations/Special Warfare branches, e.g. Navy SEALS, Army Ranger and Special Forces, and Marine Recon. In addition, the Navy EOD assists the Secret Service in their operations. Because of these tasks, the Navy EOD are trained in parachuting so that they may carry out the varied clandestine tasks to which they are assigned. These are some of the toughest and bravest guys, (gals), on the planet. Ask a Navy SEAL. They are tasked to do a great many other clandestine military tasks that can not be written about here. Might be best to hold your snide remarks until you know the whole story.