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 this country one of the most heavily mined in the world. A number of NGOs, including Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), are 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.
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 mine clearance survey process.
Armtrac has four A20T Mk2s deployed in Colombia in support of NPA operations. Following an intense training period, the Armtrac machines were accredited for demining and vegetation cutting operations which will speed up the survey and demining process considerably and allow NPA to expedite their demining programme.
The Colombian Army have an Engineer Brigade of Humanitarian Demining, known as Brigada de Ingenieros de DesminadoHumanitario No 1, consisting of 7 Engineer Battalions (No 1 – 6 & No 60). It is estimated that the Brigade has approximately 50 years of mine clearance work ahead of them and they now need to procure suitable mechanical equipment to help speed up this process. Given that the Armtrac 20T has already been accredited by a strict Colombian (DAICMA) accreditation process, the Colombian Army are very interested in Armtrac demining equipment.
Armtrac manufactures demining machinery that helps in Technical Survey and mine clearance and assists in making armed forces and civilians safe. You can read more about the Armtrac products here: https://armtrac.net/products-unmanned-ground-vehicle/.