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Ukraine's Armed Forces use thermal imagers to find Russian mines

Wednesday, 16 August 2023, 00:41
Ukraine's Armed Forces use thermal imagers to find Russian mines
Skylab's drone thermal vision test, photo by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Image

CNN reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are using experimental thermal imaging devices to uncover Russian mines.

Source: CNN

Details: A CNN journalist saw Ukrainian soldiers on the front installing a thermal imaging camera on a commercial drone at dusk. The camera hovers over Russian minefields and detects dozens of thermal signatures [traces]. Some of them are craters, but many of them are mines barely hidden under the surface.

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The heat that the mines receive from the bright summer sun during the day is retained as the sun goes down, making them more clearly visible on the thermal imaging camera.

Soldiers from the 15th Separate National Guard Regiment stationed near the embattled village of Robotyne told CNN that the tactic is an effective means of detecting some mines. 

CNN footage shows the mines being detonated by Ukrainian charges, which detonate and at least partially eliminate the threat.

This is yet another example of Ukrainian soldiers’ ingenuity supplementing the armour and weapons provided by NATO countries in recent months to help in the counteroffensive, CNN said.

Paul McCann, a spokesman for The HALO Trust, a UK-based mine clearance NGO, told CNN that its mine clearance experts have used this method in Angola, where it has proven to be promising. He said that the mines’ thermal signatures are more clearly visible at dawn and dusk, when they contrast more with the outside temperature. 

CNN reported that Ukrainian soldiers often use drones with thermal imaging cameras, but the scale of the task is enormous: according to official Ukrainian estimates, Russian forces rigged more than 180,000 square kilometres with explosives, and there are often up to five explosive devices per square metre.

A drone team on a frontline position near the village of Robotyne told CNN the area around them was laden with mines.

Oleksandr from the 15th National Guard Regiment said: "When we entered one forest area, we found up to 53 booby traps. They’re not just made of one grenade – we call it a bouquet, grenades full of other grenades."

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