Russia develops new mine-clearing systems

The Russian BMR-3M is a T-90 hull with the turret replaced with a superstructure housing the crew and other mine clearing equipment. Attached to the front of the vehicle are two arms each with solid steel wheels that whilst driving over mines, their weight detonates them and thanks to their thickness are not damaged, allowing the vehicle to continue along its path with other tanks such as the T-90 following it.

Latest Russian TMS-S mine clearing system installed on the front of the BMR-3M armoured deminer, showing the mine clearing rollers, two pole-type electromagnetic devices and the explosive reactive armour over the frontal arc. (Stankomash)

Russia’s Stankomash has completed development of the engineering tank mine-sweeping system TMS-S.

The TMS-S is mounted on the front of Russian BMR-3M armoured demining vehicles, recognisable by their raised rear roofline, providing space for the two crew and three combat engineers.

The system features eight mine-clearing rollers installed on hinged arms, which cover the full width of the vehicle. A blade is mounted on either side to cut through command detonation wires.

Mounted above the rollers are two pole-type electro-magnetic attachments and a mine ‘trawl’ (known locally as a UTPBM), which is claimed to be able to neutralise mines activated by the acoustic, thermal and seismic signatures of the vehicle.

A Russian firm is marketing a new mine-clearing system (TMS-S) that can be attached to tanks or armored engineer vehicles in 95 minutes and allows the mine clearing vehicle to move down a road at up to 15 kilometers an hour, clearing any mines. The basic tool is the rollers (heavy barrels that are rigged to run in front a vehicle and set off mines). The rollers are heavy enough to simulate the weight of a vehicle. In addition there are plow-like devices on each side of the device to cut wires used to detonate some types of mines. There are also two poles carrying an electromagnetic device (the UTPBM) that are said to be capable of disabling new mines that detect a specific acoustic, thermal, or seismic information about passing vehicles and only explode if a specific profile is detected. There are two versions of TMS-S. The 13 ton version is for armored engineer vehicles, while a smaller (fewer rollers) 7 ton version is used to mount on T-72/80/90 tanks. With the rollers in the up position (so they do not contact the road) the using vehicle can move at up to 45 kilometers an hour on a road.

Rollers in general are an old (World War II era) mine clearing device and proved useful in Iraq and Afghanistan where special sets of rollers were frequently used. The most frequently used American roller gear (SPARK, for Self-Protection Adaptive Roller Kit) was built to be used by a heavy truck or MRAP (heavily armored trucks). Over 300 SPARK systems were sent to Iraq, where they detonated over 70 anti-vehicle mines and “proofed” thousands of kilometers of road, verifying that the routes were mine free. All this saved hundreds of American lives, which means a lot when you consider that only 4,500 U. S. troops were killed in Iraq, about half of them on the roads (mostly from roadside bombs and mines). A customized (for local conditions) version of SPARK was designed for Afghanistan as well. Other NATO nations used roller kits, often of local design. The Russians have been using rollers since World War II and TMS-S is simply the latest refinement of this method.

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