Radio remote control system helps save lives in Afghanistan

October 2002 Infrastructure

Cattron-Theimeg Portable Radio Remote Controllers are helping make Afghanistan safe for residents of the war-torn country and the military operators of anti-personnel minesweepers.

An armoured minesweeper, the Mini-Flail, is controlled by the Cattron-Theimeg AT (Advanced Technology) Series System to flail and sweep the mines. Operators, generally combat engineers, usually stand 150 to 300 m from the Mini-Flail, far enough away from mine explosions.

Cattron-Theimeg’s Mini-Flail in use in Afghanistan
Cattron-Theimeg’s Mini-Flail in use in Afghanistan

The Mini-Flail is covered with a Spectra Shield armour and based on a skid steer loader. More than 80 chains, which are mounted on a rotating spindle at the front of the machine, move clockwise in a rotating, flailing motion to imitate a person's step. The movement either detonates the mine or enables it to be pulled from the ground. The remote control operator, who has line of sight of all Mini-Flail movements, is out of harm's way. When the chains move counterclockwise, the Mini-Flail sweeps the device from the surface. The sweeper can remove mines from hard surfaces, heavy grass and open fields.

Because of the Mini-Flail's armoured protection, usually the damage is limited to a chain if a mine explodes. The chain is easily replaced. Cattron-Theimeg application engineers successfully adapted the AT remote control system to meet the needs of the Defence Department where officials describe the remote control as 'outstanding and trouble free'. The AT Series has an extensive history of successful applications for overhead cranes, furnace doors, shiploading, mining and agricultural equipment. It is designed for use in harsh environments.

The Mini-Flail is also used in Bosnia and Kosovo where they were successfully deployed for anti-personnel mine removal. The Mini-Flail used in Afghanistan has been enhanced by the manufacturer, Marion Metal Works, to meet the demands brought about by higher elevation and difficult terrain equipment.

Cattron-Theimeg has operations worldwide, including South Africa, the USA, UK and Brazil and is able to draw on over 50 years experience within the industrial market.

For more information contact Justin Benniman, Cattron-Theimeg Africa, 011 425 1123, [email protected]

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