Landmines are simple but ridiculously effective and obnoxiously long-lived devices — often killing and maiming civilians long after the end of conflict. The Digger D-3 aims to de-mine the world’s war zones one mine at a time.
Created by the Swiss NGO, Digger DTR, the 18 foot D-3 is a fully armoured, remotely operated mine-clearing device. Like a tank-tractor hybrid, the 8.75-ton D-3 weighs nearly as much as a an adult Orca. The machine is covered in a V-shaped, hardened-steel skin to minimise damage from anti-tank mines and is built to destroy ordnance up to 81mm in diameter while withstanding explosions of up to 8kg of high-explosive ordnance. The 4.5-litre 4-cylinder John Deere engine has 173hp, which allows the machine to clear anywhere from 600 to 2000 square metres of land an hour. And by “clear”, I mean pound the snot out of everything in its path.
The D-3 reliably clears 100 per cent of landmines through the use of its rotational flail, which is comprised of 26 Tungsten hammers affixed to hardened steel chains. That pound 10 inches into the ground. At 800 RPM. It makes for hell of a roto-tiller as well, especially when outfitted with its 64-chisel open tilling head. The machine is controlled wirelessly from up to 500m away. What’s more, the D-3 is built to be easily repaired while in the field in the event that it breaks down… or is blown up. Whichever.
The D-2 (predecessor) clearing mines in Sudan: