The first batch of minesweepers manufactured by Turkey’s state-owned ASFAT arrived in Azerbaijan. Following its liberation of the Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, Baku must now clear the lands of mines left as traps by the withdrawing Armenian forces. The independent news agency “Report” reported that Azerbaijan became the first export customer of the MEMATTs (Mechanical Mine Clearing Equipment) when it ordered 20 of them in December. Azerbaijan has upgraded the engineering equipment arsenal of its armed forces with cutting-edge machinery and equipment from Turkey.
MEMATT is a top-notch unmanned mine-clearing equipment co-produced by Turkey’s state-run defense contractor ASFAT and the Turkish private defense companies. The machine is covered with Armox 500T, known as the world’s toughest protection plate made of ultra-hard armor steel. MEMATT is mine-resistant and controlled remotely from up to 500 meters (1,640 feet). The equipment can move at a speed of 4 kilometers per hour (2.48 miles per hour), descend to a depth of 25 centimeters and clear a 1-kilometer-long, 1.7-meter-wide area of mines within an hour.
Officials at the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) say the neutralization of unexploded ammunition, warheads, missiles in the combat zones could take 5-6 years, while it is about 10-13 years for the mined areas. Twenty-three soldiers of the Azerbaijan Army successfully completed a 2-week long Specialist EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) course in the Turkish city of Izmir from January 3-29. Two Special Mine Search and Cleaning teams from Turkey numbering 135 personnel are assisting the Azerbaijani combat engineers to search and destroy the mines.