Air Lift Operations in Colombia

Air Lift Operations in Colombia

Following the 52-year conflict between the government and the Marxist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, a peace agreement was finally signed at the end of 2016. However the conflict has left Colombia one of the most heavily mined in the world. A number of NGOs have been contributing to the demining effort which is hampered by a lack of records and maps of where the mines and improvised Explosive Devices (IED) have been laid. Now the Colombian Army’s Humanitarian Demining Brigade have just received 7 units of Armtrac 20T Mk2 to assist with clearance operations throughout the Country including areas high in the mountains.

This situation is not unique to Colombia. There are many areas in the world where demining activities are taking place and no records or maps are available to the demining organisations. This requires a two stage process which is set out in International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) 08.10 & 08.20. First, Non-Technical Survey which is a painstaking intelligence gathering process collecting and analysing data concerning the presence, type and distribution of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) which helps to confirm the presence of contamination and prioritise land release operations. Second is Technical Survey which uses intervention techniques to better define where the mines/ERW are positioned. It is this second phase where mechanical equipment is often used to speed up the demining survey process as well as clear explosive devices such as landmines and IEDs by using a rapidly rotating tiller with hardened picks to separate the fuse from the main charge.

Weighing under 3 tons, the Armtrac 20T Mk2 can be transported on a twin axle 3 ton trailer towed by a 4 x 4 vehicle. However, the Colombian Humanitarian Demining Brigade will be conducting air lift operations to move the Armtrac 20T in order to reach explosive contaminated sites in mountain areas which are inaccessible by road. See https://youtu.be/bVGXSrQzlNg and https://www.youtube.com/shorts/Buzo__f1YME