Russia will supply Iraq with around 400 mine clearing vehicles for removing mine barriers planted by the Islamic State militants in the country, the Iranian news agency Fars reports.
The Iraqi Prime-Minister Haider al-Abadi signed an extra agreement with Russia to supply the mine clearing vehicles to the national armed forces, an Iraqi official said.
“On arrival in the country the mine clearing vehicles will be used in operations against the IS militants in the Northern and Western parts of Iraq,” the official said, adding that the cost of vehicles will be paid by the Iraqi government later. Fars has illustrated its report with a photograph of Russia’s latest BMR-3M Vepr mine clearing vehicle, which however is not an indisputable proof that expressly these machines will be procured.
The BMR-3M Vepr mine clearing vehicle has been developed by the Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation using the T-90 main battle tank /MBT/. It is powered by the V-84MS 840hp engine that used to be mounted on the previous models of the T-72 MBT. Used as the main engineering tool is the KMT-7 wheeled mine plow. Also, it is possible to fit a more advanced tool like KMT-8 or KMT-9.
The vehicle is outfitted with a radio suppression system for neutralizing remotely controlled explosive devices and with a jib crane. The vehicle maximum speed is 60 km/h, the mine sweeping speed reaches 12 km/h. The armament suite includes a remotely controlled antiaircraft automatic weapon system and 12.7 mm NSVT machinegun. Also, it is outfitted with 902V Tucha smoke dischargers. The BMR-3M mine clearing vehicle is fitted with the Contact-1 explosive reactive armor.
The BMR-3M vehicle will find an optimum application for demining operations in Iraq. At the moment the IS militants do not plant the mine field type of explosive barriers. The preferred technique now is “a mine cluster” in which self-made explosive devices and antitank/antipersonnel mines prevail. The mine barriers are usually located near the roads. In this case the least costly and most effective means of overcoming the barrier is the use of the mine clearing vehicle fitted with contact demining sweepers and protected at the MBT level.