Explosion is Not an Explosion: Detonating AP Mines without Explosive Charges
with the AP Mine Neutralization Device
By Frank E. Varljen
(Colonel, US Army, Retired)
Issue 3.2 | June 1999
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The Problem with Using Explosive Charges to Detonate
In many demining situations, "in situ" neutralization of AR landmines
is accomplished by using explosive charges to detonate the mines in place.
However, there are times when it is not appropriate, safe, or feasible to
use explosive charges to neutralize AP mines.
- When explosives are not available because of logistical problems, cost,
and/or storage limitations.
- When explosives are not allowed because of security restrictions, and/or
the possible theft of explosives by unfriendly elements.
- When trained demolition/explosive-handling personnel are not available
to properly handle explosives.
- When explosives are not safe to use because the explosion and resulting
shrapnel and blast effect would damage nearby facilities (buildings, communication
stations, bridges, etc.).
- When there is a need to limit the spread of the shrapnel from the exploded
In such situations, the use of a mechanical AP mine neutralization device is
necessary and appropriate. Such a device is currently being evaluated by the
US Army Countermine Division of the CECOM Night Vision and Electronic Sensor
Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia
The AP Mine Neutralization Device (APMINUD).
Developed by RAMTA Division of the Israel Aircraft Industries, this device
detonates an AP mine in situ, without the need for placement of any explosive
charge, and without the need for any exposed personnel in the immediate vicinity
of the mine. The blast of the explosion and the accompanying fragmentation are
contained by the AP Mine Neutralization Device (APMINUD), that is placed over
the mine prior to its activation. (See sketch)
The mechanical system is safe and simple to operate and maintain in the field
by local operating personnel. Already completed US Army tests have verified
the following attributes of the APMINUD:
- It is effective over a wide variety of terrain, including clay soil, sand,
and grass-covered clay soil.
- It detonates previously marked, pressure activated AP mines in situ without
the need for explosive charges.
- The heavy, spring-driven plunger and hammerhead create a ground footprint
of 10-12 inches in diameter.
- It triggers mines buried up to 3 inches deep.
- Using sacrificial elements, it can withstand the blast and fragmentation
of at least 50 detonations of 200-gram AP mines.
- It can be lifted and transported by a variety of vehicles with booms.
- The plunger and hammerhead mechanism are locked in ready position when the
APMINUD is lifted.
- The locking mechanism is released by pulling a cable, either manually or
by remote control.
- After performing numerous detonations, the moving parts of the APMINUD can
be easily replaced in the field by the local operators.
- The APMINUD provides a clearances rate considerably faster than the current
manual mine-clearing system.
For more information, contact the following:
Mr. Zeev Scheiring
Beer Sheva Israel 84102
- Tel: 972-7-627-2231/8086
- Fax: 972-7-627-6770
- IAH Washington Office
- 1700 North Moore Street, Ste 1210
- Arlington, VA 22209
- Tel: 703-875-3724/3735
- Fax: 703-875-3740
Frank E. Varljen (Colonel, US Army, Retired)
- 6508 Shamrock Road
- Manassas, VA 20112
- Tel: 703-791-6218
- Fax: 703-791-6547
- Email: email@example.com