World's largest bomb-squad training kicks off near Marana

World's largest bomb-squad training kicks off near Marana
The Ravens Challenge at Pinal Air Park involves training for the military and public safety officers on how to stop situations involving explosives. (Source: KOLD News 13)

PINAL COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Raven's Challenge kicks off at Pinal Air Park on Wednesday, March 21. The challenge involves training for the military and public safety officers, like city police and county sheriffs, on how to stop situations involving explosives.

The overall goal of the training is to better merge the military and public safety departments so that together they can diffuse an explosive or bomb as efficiently as possible.

The leadership heading up the Raven's Challenge says this training couldn't be more fitting considering the recent explosions in Austin, TX. Bomb squads from Texas will be present at the training.

Locally, Tucson police, Pima County's bomb squad, and Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers will also attend.

"In this scenario out here, we're learning how to work with the different agencies together. So, when the big event does occur, Heaven forbid it doesn't occur in Tucson or Arizona like it is happening in Texas, we're ready," John Simpson of the ATF said.

All law enforcement teams will be working through a variety of explosion type activities including working to disassemble an IED in a vehicle and a tactical event with night vision goggles simulating nighttime conditions.

The Raven's Challenge is 15 years in the making. This year they've been prepping for over a week at the Pinal Airpark, the beginning of ATF's four-stop tour of the nation that will end in West Virginia. ATF says all the prep is meant to leave law enforcement and the military 100 percent ready.

"We're training every day for the worst situations possible so that we can handle them in the most expedient and efficient manner to restore normalcy to any type of area that may be threatened by an explosive device," Simpson said.

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