Russia’s military, for the first time, tested a new tactic of using in tandem the ISDM remote minelaying engineering system and mobile groups of heavy flamethrowers TOS-1A in the main phase of the joint strategic exercise Zapad-2021 at the Mulino proving ground in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. Two mobile groups of ten heavy flamethrowers TOS1A Solntsepyok were employed to inflict losses on the advancing forces of a hypothetical enemy. A combination of explosions of uncontrolled unguided missiles with thermobaric warheads and a minefield planted by the ISDM remote-controlled minelaying engineering system Zemledeliye created a high-temperature fire-field and a zone of high pressure in the way of advancing enemy forces, thus maximizing the losses of the hypothetical enemy and stopping its further movement.
ISDM Zemledeliye (which in Russian means ‘agriculture’) designed by the Ganichev NPO Splav Research and Manufacturing Association (under management of Technodinamika Holding). NPO Splav is one of the leading global companies developers and manufacturers of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), and one of the key companies providing Russian arms for the global market in the segment. The ISDM Zemledeliye comprises a KamAZ 6560 8×8 heavy duty wheeled chassis vehicle, a transporter-loader, and launch pod containers loaded with various types of mines. The remotely controlled minelayer system automatically programs launch missions and self-destruct parameters for the mines, and creates a map of the mined zone after planting the mines. All data is transmitted to the higher command tiers.
Zemledeliye is basically similar to multiple rocket systems. It fires solid propellant projectiles carrying different types of landmines. Remote minelaying has a number of advantages. Minefields can be laid very fast, in particular, in hard-to-access areas. The mines are capable of self-deactivation or self-elimination at a pre-set moment, which allows for the prompt removal of minefields when the combat operations are over. The latest Zemledeliye remote-controlled mine-laying vehicle that is also at the final stage of its trials has reduced an operator’s role to the minimum. The vehicle prepares flight mission assignments and pre-sets munitions, including their self-destruction time, in the automated mode.
The armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus takes place every two years in accordance with the decision taken by the heads of the two states. The Zapad-2021 exercise is the final stage of joint training of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation this year. Practical actions of the troops (forces) will be held in the period from September 10 to 16 at nine training grounds located on the territory of the Russian Federation, in the Baltic Sea, as well as at five training grounds of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus. ZAPAD 2021 also offers a sandbox to test and evaluate new doctrine, tactics, and weapon systems. In total, up to 200 thousand military personnel will take part in the JSE Zapad-2021 on the territory of Russia and Belarus, about 80 aircraft and helicopters, up to 760 units of military equipment, including 290 tanks, 240 guns, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, as well as up to 15 ships will be involved.