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Ukraine conflict: Switzerland to provide remote-controlled mine-clearing vehicle to Kyiv

Switzerland's Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sports received a remote-controlled mine-clearing vehicle on 29 August from the Digger Foundation for delivery to Ukraine. (DDPS)

Switzerland's Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sports (DDPS) announced in a press release on 29 August that it had received a tracked remote-controlled mine-clearing vehicle the same day from Digger Foundation, a Swiss-based non-profit organisation (NPO), for delivery to Ukraine. Developed and produced by Digger, the vehicle can destroy or detonate mines, cluster munitions, and explosive remnants, according to the DDPS.

A Digger representative told Janes on 1 September that the mine-clearing vehicle is a Digger D-250, the NPO's fourth-generation remote-controlled humanitarian demining machine.

The vehicle, a truck trailer, and three years' worth of spare parts, valued at CHF1.2 million (USD1.36 million), will be transported to Ukraine in September by the Van for Life Foundation and handed over to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

The D-250 with its Digger Twin-Picks tiller can be operated from a distance of up to 500 m. It has been tested by the Swedish Army on anti-tank mines with a TNT equivalent of up to 8 kg, and its oscillating track system provides better weight distribution than a fixed system, significantly improving its all-terrain capability, according to Digger. It has a 250 hp John Deere diesel engine, with a specially designed cooling system allowing it to operate continuously at full power in high temperatures, with a triple air-filter system protecting it from dust.

The DDPS has also been supporting the training of Ukrainian civilian experts in mine clearing, together with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, since mid-2023.

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