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Azerbaijan Deploys More Minesweepers to Expedite Demining in Liberated Lands

By Ilham Karimli May 28, 2024

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ANAMA's newly acquired "Revival P" minesweepers / Azertag

The Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) has deployed more domestically produced minesweepers in the liberated lands to speed up the demining process.

Improtex Industries, headquartered in Baku, delivered ten additional "Revival P" mechanical demining machines to ANAMA, similar to ones already operating in the mine-polluted territories, Azertag writes.

ANAMA reported that the equipment is used in line with international demining standards to detect anti-personnel and anti-tank minefields, prepare areas for demining, and minimize the perimeter of suspected hazardous areas with the support of mine detection dogs.

The "Revival P" anti-personnel mechanical demining tools are resistant to 7 kg TNT explosions. The total weight of the equipment is 6.5 tons, and it has a remote-control range of up to 2,000 meters.

These machines, with a clearing depth of 300 millimeters, can easily navigate areas with hard soil cover and large slope angles. The use of flails positioned at the front of the mechanical minesweepers ensure operations in difficult terrain by beating the hard soil surface.

The acquired "Revival P" demining tools, according to ANAMA, will significantly contribute to the humanitarian demining activities conducted as part of the state-run "Great Return" program for reconstruction and the safe return of former internally displaced persons to their native lands.

The self-propelled “Revival P” anti-personnel mine action machine was first unveiled at the TEKNOFEST Azerbaijan Aerospace and Technologies Festival in May 2022. The equipment is based on the chassis of the Türkiye-made MEMATT minesweepers. The device was equipped with 100 percent locally produced body, front flails, electrical, electronic, and mechanical parts.

According to its technical specifications, “Revival P” can perform mine cleaning operations in temperatures ranging from 0 °C to 55 °C. Advantages of the device include a bigger front flail than its competitors, a larger radiator that prolongs its lifetime, a larger fuel tank, easy access to almost all spare parts in case of urgent maintenance, explosion-proof 360° PTZ camera capable of 80x zooming, and durable and high temperature resistant TUF metal that was used in its construction.

The deminer machine has successfully passed the relevant tests by ANAMA.

Azerbaijan’s Karabakh (Garabagh) and East Zangazur regions were mined heavily during the nearly 30-year-long occupation by Armenia since the early 1990s. Armenia kicked off full-blown military aggression against Azerbaijan following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991. The bloody war, until a ceasefire in 1994, saw Armenia occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. Over 30,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, and one million were expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

As part of 44-day counter-attack operations that took place in 2020, Azerbaijani forces managed to liberate over 300 occupied settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha. The war ended in a tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020. Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan as part of the agreement.

Shortly after the war, Azerbaijani authorities rolled out full-scale mine clearance operations in the Karabakh and East Zangazur regions.

ANAMA deployed Turkish MEMATT, Slovak-made Bozena-4 and Bozena-5 minesweepers, Croatian-made MV-4 special-purpose mine-clearing machine, and AARDVARK mine clearance vehicle of the British production for mine clearance.

Demining operations have faced many challenges due to Armenia’s refusal to hand over the accurate maps of the areas where the landmines are located. Initial estimations put the number of mines planted in Azerbaijan’s once-occupied lands at over 1.5 million.

Officials at ANAMA say the neutralization of unexploded ammunition, warheads, and missiles in the combat zones could take 5-6 years, while it is about 10-13 years for the mined areas.

As of April 2024, more than 350 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured by Armenian landmines since the signing of the tripartite statement in 2020. In June 2021, two Azerbaijani journalists and a government official lost their lives in a mine blast in the Kalbajar district.