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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

What are the RAAM mine systems of Ukraine? Equipment blocking Russian advances

Ukraine’s effective use of anti-armor mines has helped halt Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast, British defense officials have said.

In its daily update, the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) said Russian attacks on the town of Vuhledar south of Bakhmut were “almost certainly slowing down” after repeated failed attacks over the past three months.

In late January, a renewed Russian offensive began at Vuhledar, reportedly involving the Pacific Fleet’s 155th Marine Brigade. The Defense Ministry said Thursday that one of the reasons for Russian casualties in the sector was “the successful deployment of Remote Anti-Armor Mine Systems (RAAM) in Ukraine.”

The United States-supplied RAAM is a 155mm howitzer containing nine anti-tank mines. It can scatter anti-armament mines between 2.5 and 10.5 miles from the firing unit, allowing Ukrainian forces to lay the mines remotely rather than by hand.

First developed in 1980, the projectile can be fired from either the M109 series or M198 or M777 series howitzers and fired into enemy territory after a preset time. To stop them, the Russian forces must suppress the cannons that fire the mine shells.

They are part of the US military assistance package to Ukraine that has been deployed since the beginning of the war. As of January 2023, the US had sent approximately 10,200 rounds to Kiev’s armed forces.

British defense officials said on Friday Ukraine launched the mines above and behind advancing Russian units “causing disorder when Russian vehicles try to retreat”.

news week emailed the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

It comes amid reports that Russian forces are struggling to deal with Ukraine’s mines, particularly RAAM shells. Videos are circulating on social media that appear to show Russian tanks driving into minefields and exploding there.

In one video, Ukrainian soldiers wait for Russian troops to clear a path through a minefield before firing new mines into the newly cleared path. Ukraine also reportedly uses the traditional mine, the Soviet TM-62 forbes.

“I think this is the first time we’ve seen them being used in anger,” said former British intelligence officer Philip Ingram news week. “They are proving to be an extremely effective weapon system, capable of quickly deploying an area denial capability where it is least expected and most disruptive.”

“Not only will it affect Russia’s freedom of movement and its ability to support operations, but the psychological impact is likely to have a major impact on Russian morale,” he added.

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