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Mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost-effective

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November 25, 2019 | 08:38

Mechanical demining systems can greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of mine/ERW clearance operations.

mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost effective VAVA, Japan Gensuikyo cooperate to fight against nuclear, chemicals weapons
mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost effective Cluster bomb, in Quang Tri’s school football field, safely destroyed
mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost effective 500lb US bomb safely destroyed by NPA teams
mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost effective
Scorpion, a man-portable detection system that utilizes a one meter wide electro-magnetic induction sensor and a total field magnetometer to detect buried cluster munitions and other explosive ordnance. Photo: NPA

A variety of mechanical systems are manufactured to destroy and detonate mines. Machines have the potential to accelerate the progress of other assets through removing vegetation and tripwires and breaking up soil in support of manual deminers and animal detection systems. They play a crucial role in the Systematic investigation variant of Technical Survey.

Norwegian People’s Aid Vietnam (NPA Vietnam)’s in Thua Thien Hue Province is supported with funding from Norway and the United States of America. Their key partners include Thua Thien – Hue Union of Friendship Organizations (HueFO) and Vietnam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC).

During the past two months, NPA Vietnam’s Battle Area Clearance team operating in Thua Thien – Hue Province has cleared 132,500 square meters of contaminated land in Trung Thanh Village of Phong Chuong Commune, Phong Dien District. A total of 83 cluster munitions and 23 other explosive remnants of war (ERW) have been located and safely destroyed.

The team’s clearance effort is supported by the Scorpion, a man-portable detection system that utilizes a one meter wide electro-magnetic induction sensor and a total field magnetometer to detect buried cluster munitions and other explosive ordnance. It uses differential global positioning system (DGPS) to provide centimeter accuracy of target locations and mapping capability.

The Scorpion is part of the US Department of Defense (US DoD)-funded Operational Field Evaluation project of NPA Vietnam to develop, demonstrate and validate detection and mechanical systems for more effective and efficient clearance of cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war in Vietnam.

According to Vice Chairman of Thua Thien Hue provincial People's Committee Nguyen Dung, Thua Thien - Hue is one of the provinces with highest level of landmines contamination in the country, with more than 170,400ha (accounting for 35% of the province's total area).

mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost effective
Staff member operates the remote-controlled Bearcat system from the control point of the site. Photo: Hien Ngo/NPA-RENEW
mechanical demining systems optimized to be cost effective
The remote-controlled Bearcat at work. Photo: Hien Ngo/NPA-RENEW

Meanwhile, in Quang Tri province, with support from the US Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program, Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (DoD NVESD HD R&D), since July 2019, NPA-RENEW has deployed a vegetation cutting system (Bearcat) in support of clearance operations in the province. The Bearcat is part of the US DoD-funded Operational Field Evaluation project of NPA Vietnam to develop, demonstrate and validate detection and mechanical systems for more effective and efficient clearance of cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war in Vietnam.

Thanks to the US DoD HD R&D team’s hands-on training, two members of NPA-RENEW staff are now qualified to operate the Bearcat system, including equipment care and maintenance. The Bearcat team is working to remove vegetation on a Confirmed Hazardous Area (CHA) of 750,000 square meters in Ha Xa Village of Trieu Ai Commune, Trieu Phong District before a clearance team will be deployed to make it safe for the local people.

International operators active in 2018 included DDG, working in Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue provinces; MAG, working in Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces; NPA, working in Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces; and PeaceTrees Vietnam, who have been working in Quang Tri province since 1995.

NPA Survey & Clearance Program implemented at Project RENEW is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the DFID - UK Department for International Development, and a cooperation project between NPA and Quang Tri Province Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mechanical demining provides significant savings over manual demining. Not only can more land be cleared, but human lives are saved as the process of manual demining is extremely dangerous./.

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