Demining is the name given to the process of mine clearance, which also generally covers more than just land mines.
Other unexploded ordnance, devices and ammunition will still need to be carefully removed from an area of land to make it safe for use. The process of demining and land clearance is left to experienced experts, which is carried out with specialist equipment and machinery manufactured by companies such as Armtrac Ltd.
Demining and land clearance operations are performed for both military and civilian use. In most cases for military purposes it is a process used for clearing a safe pathway through an active minefield or through terrain that has suspected hidden explosive devices from previous conflicts, but where there might not be any definite proof or maps in existence showing where the explosives were laid.
Military and civilian demining
Clearing a path through suspected minefields to enable military foot patrols or convoys/aid transport to reach their objectives is usually done quite rapidly and only wide enough to provide a safe path for their movement through a designated stretch of land; that is the aim of most standard military demining operations during conflict.
However, the main object of performing civilian demining and land clearance operations is for more humanitarian reasons. The mission here is to clear the land of all landmines and explosive devices to a deeper level to enable the land to be made safe and usable.
This can be in areas of former conflict that contain landmines as well as Improvised ExplosiveDevices, or could contain old ammunition storage facilities or dumps that could be unstable and therefore present a threat to the public.
What demining equipment and techniques are used?
The detection and removal of landmines and other explosive devices is an incredibly dangerous activity to undertake. While it used to be common practice to clear the land manually in every circumstance, the choice of clearance methodologies is now more nuanced towards the level and type of threat, the terrain and the prevailing circumstances determined during Non-Technical and Technical Survey.
Sometimes clearance operations will use a combination of methodologies such specially trained sniffer dogs in conjunction with mechanical or manual clearance techniques to help locate hidden mines and to check that an area of land has been successfully cleared. In most cases, it is quicker to conduct Technical Survey with mechanical assets but it is dependent on a number of different factors particularly terrain.
Armtrac build and supply a range of demining vehicles and equipment that use bolt-on tools such as flails, tillers, excavation buckets and devices such as theArmtrac Rotary Mine Comb that extract explosive ordnance from a certain depth, actively exposing and safely pushing explosive devices to one side where they can then be safely disposed of.
For example, the Armtrac 20T C-IED Robot is a great solution when you are looking for something flexible and versatile for your clearance operation. It is a small, unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that can be fitted with a range of different tool kits, including flails, tillers, Rotary Mine Combs, Buckets and Dozer Blades. This Robot has been used successfully on operations in Iraq and Syria clearing rubble from inside buildings where potential IEDs had been left by IS.
During C-IED operations, you can also fit a detector system to the front or rear of the vehicle and an IED disruptor can be fitted on the rear robotic arm. This robot provides many hours of continuous use without the need for refuelling.
Different types of mines and devices
Landmines are divided into two different categories:
- Anti-personnel (AP)
- Anti-tank (AT)
Anti-personnel mines are targeted towards killing or maiming personnel on the ground. They are usually planted close to the surface and will normally be triggered by the pressure of someone walking over it weighing between 8 and 24 pounds, so the weight of a passing child could be enough to trigger the device. In this category, you could be dealing with as many as 350 different types of explosive devices. Mostly they will come in two main groups – blast or fragmentation.
AP Blast mines are designed to damage a foot or the complete lower part of the leg in order to create a casualty and a logistic burden.
APFragmentation devices are designed to explode upwards and outwards above the ground. They can be directional, omnidirectional or bounding. The spread of shrapnel can reach up to 100 metres, meaning that the casualties can be numerous. Sometimes triggered by tripwires that can be set up to around 20 meters away, they are designed to cause widespread damage to approaching infantry.
Anti-tank mines, which are predominantly pressure-activated blast mines are designed to target tanks and other military vehicles. In most cases the mines will be large and will need a heavier weight (100 Kg + ) to trigger them, so foot soldiers would not normally set them off.
The Armtrac 75T-230 is a very versatile mid-range option where you want a flexible solution and approach to land clearance. The vehicle is built to be remote-controlled, but you have the option of having an armoured cabin fitted for an operator,
It has a hydraulically operated 2.2 meter Tiller Rotor and is capable of clearing approximately 1,100 square meters per hour. The 75T is built to successfully destroy up to 10kg Anti-Tank mines.
With its great flexibility, the vehicle has a telescopic boom to which you can fit different tool kits to perform a range of clearance operations, such as navigating hard to reach areas along inclines and banks.
By fitting the vehicle with the Armtrac Mine Comb the 75T-230 can locate and remove mines and other unexploded devices planted down to a level of 50 Cms. This provides a dust-free way to clear landmines in sandy/desert areas.
Need our help?
Do not hesitate to contact our team at Armtrac for more information about our range of demining vehicles, robots and tool kits. We are happy to discuss your needs and provide you with a workable and cost-effective solution.