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The engineering troops are an integral part of not only the armed forces, but also other force structures, such as the troops of the Interior Ministry, the Emergency Control Ministry, the Federal Security Service, etc. The engineering troops are ones of the oldest kinds of troops and at the same time ones of the most technically equipped and adoptive when it comes to the technical innovations.

Regardless of the different subordination, the engineering troops of the force structures solve mainly similar standard tasks. One of such tasks is the engineering terrain, hostile and object intelligence. This task is topical in the times of both war and peace, that is why the engineering troops are always at the front line, in the active service. For example, in the spring of 2015, the inhabitants of the Sunzhen region of the Republic of Ingushetia stated complaining on the blowing up of the cattle at the pastures. The bomb technicians of the mine clearing squadron of the separate engineering brigade of the South defense command started detecting and neutralizing the explosive objects in April. They cleared over 30 ha of the mountain area at the altitude of about 1800 m above sea level.

Because of the peculiarities of the mountain relief, using the specialized machinery in this area was impossible. So, the bomb technicians applied the modern portable devices: the selective portable induction mine finder IMP-S2, the portable non-contact explosive device finder INVU-3M. The task was successfully solved in the shortest terms.

The head of the engineering troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant General Yury Stavitsky notices that IMP-S2, INVY-3M and the portable explosive device control cable line finder PIPL are produces on the new element base with the usage of the wider spectrum of the applied search methods.

The enlisted devices are developed and serially issued by the Russian company STT GROUP, they are in demand with the armed forces and other force structures of the RF, as well as with foreign consumers. The company’s Director General, Vladimir Tkach, noted in his conversation with the author that the products are made in accordance with the strictest requirements of the army, regarding both technical characteristics and the operating conditions. Moreover, they managed to reduce the cost of the serial products quite significantly.

One should understand  STT Group carries out the majority of the innovative developments, particularly for the engineering troops, at its own expense. So the cost of the products to a large extent depends on the volume of orders. If the product passes into service, there is a guaranteed material volume of the state order, and the company has an opportunity to reduce the expenses at the account of the implementation of the modern technological processes, and reduction of the wholesale prices of the purchased items and component parts. In this regard, the conclusion of the two- or three-year contracts with the Ministry of Defense or other force structures has positive impact on the stability and even reduction of the prices of the end products.

The emergence of the new technical facilities of the engineering intelligence of reactive obstacles and self-made explosive devices has significantly increased the efficiency of the actions of the engineering troops and allowed increasing the safety of the personnel significantly.

Let us compare how it was and how it is now. This is what we learned from Viacheslav Ivanovich Khramtsov, the president of the organization of the engineering troops’ veterans “Forpost” and the participant of the combat operations in Afghanistan (at that time – the Chief of Staff of the 45th separate combat engineer regiment).

The most important task in Afghanistan was the engineering intelligence of the troops’ movement routes and the location. For this purpose, they engaged the engineering intelligence platoon of the regiment with 36 squads of mine and search dogs. The dogs were capable of finding any mine. But work of the mine and search squads has its own specifics. Because of the heat, the sun and the dust the dogs were unable to work more than 1.5-2 hours in a row. They needed rest afterwards. Moreover, in the last years the mines have become controllable. It means, the mujahideens connected cables to them and took an observatory position 300-400 km away. The squad could find a mine, the dog sat nearby and straight away there came an explosion. 12 dog specialists died in the platoon, as a rule, along with their four-footed friends.

Now the opportunities of the engineering troops regarding the intelligence and neutralization of reactive obstacles are radically better. This year, a demonstrative training with the application of the modern gear, equipment and machines took place at the 66th training center (interdepartmental, methodical) of the engineering troops of the Armed Forces of the RF (Nikolo-Uryupino village, Moscow region) under the guidance of the Chief of the Engineering Troops, Yuri Savitskiy.

In the course of the training they mastered the actions of the movement-support detachment (including the intelligence and mine clearing, cover, supply and road-and-bridge groups). The military held the engineering intelligence of the location for the presence of reactive obstacles while checking a part of the route of the army column movement.

The engineering intelligence watch explores the river bank during the crossing operations. The bomb technicians use a portable inductive selective mine finder IMP-S2 and a portable non-contact explosive device finder INVU-3M.

The engineering intelligence watch explores the river bank during the crossing operations. The bomb technicians use a portable inductive selective mine finder IMP-S2 and a portable non-contact explosive device finder INVU-3M.

The commander of the engineer squadron of the 45th separate engineering brigade (the heir of the 45th separate engineer regiment), Major Vladimir Chumakov, that was holding the training, told that today the mine clearing groups are equipped with the mine search service squads, the modern portable explosive device finders, the remote clearing charges “Tropa”, different types of cable line finders, as well as jamming generators designed to suppress the radio commands for landmine detonation control.

-   The experience of the combat operations in Afghanistan and on the territory of the Republic of Chechnya showed that the intelligence of the troops’ movement routes by the “horseshoe” method is the most efficient, - noticed Major Chumakov.

The bomb technicians move by steps to the left and to the right. The distance from one to another is 20-25 m – to avoid the injury of more than one person in case of detonation of a bomb or a landmine.

When checking the road surface for explosive objects, the bomb technicians used the inductive portable mine finders IMP-2S designed for the search and detection of metallic and plastic frame mines containing metallic parts in the ground and water. The portable non-contact explosive device finder INVU-3M was used to detect the explosive devices on the flanks together with the portable explosive device control cable lines finder PIPL.

-   The INVU-3M is designed to search for self-made explosive devices containing electronic schemes – told Ilya Balkin, the senior teacher of the cycle of training of specialists for clearing of areas from explosive objects, to the journalist of “Krasnaya Zvezda”, Pavel Gerasimov. – It is a modernized version with the improved ergonomic and search characteristics that allow detecting explosive devices with radio electronic detonators at the distances of 30 m away from the operator at the depth of 1 meter. This is the only engineering intelligence device in the world that can be inserted by a parachute in a cargo container and transported under water at the depth of 14 meters, if airtight.

The products of STT Group have proved their high efficiency and reliability during the performance of the tasks of ensuring security at the very important mass events. According to the specialists of SPI RMI SEaC of the MIA of Russia, the newest technical facilities have enabled the law enforcement agencies to perform their duties regarding the security at the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. The non-linear locators NR-2000 and NR-900S provided by STT Group approved themselves at this event. The tools are designed for detection of electronic devices for eavesdropping, mobile telephones, SIM cards and self-made explosive devices (SED electronic control systems) on the background of strong man-made interference coming from the urban buildings. One of the main peculiarities of the multifunctional non-linear locator NR-900S is the device’s ability not only to detect the radio electronic devices, but also identify them according to their purpose. For example, the operator can use this device to easily differ a working camouflaged radio transmitter from a cell phone, electronic timer or a listening device. Another important circumstance is that upon creation of NR-2000 and NR-900S, the developers tried to pay the maximum attention to the requirements of the military standards in the devices’ constructions in the part of climatic execution, mechanical durability and resistance against environmental impact (vibrations, rain, snow, dust), portability and ergonomics.

The development of the engineering equipment is not standing still. Now, one of the most important directions is the automation and robotization of the engineering intelligence processes and passage of obstacles.

A bomb technician in the “Sokol” protective set with a portable non-contact explosive device finder INVU-3M

A bomb technician in the “Sokol” protective set with a portable non-contact explosive device finder INVU-3M

As the head of STT Group, Vladimir Tkach, told the author, now the enterprise is approaching the final stage of development of the mine and self-made explosive device detector assembled on a mobile base. This work has been going on in the initiative order for several years. One of the key problems was ensuring the electro-magnetic compatibility of the radar unit of the detector, the chassis representing a natural disturbance and the jamming generator. Because the radio detonation control lines jammer combined with the radar unit is assembled on the chassis. Therefore, they managed to integrate the non-linear location gear and the jammer on the mobile base while fully preserving the detection properties of the radar.

The new engineering intelligence device allows increasing the pace of the movement routes intelligence by several times, as compared to the foot-mobile engineering intelligence watches.

According to Vladimir Nikolaevich, in the future it is planned to equip the mobile base with the pilotless aircraft (copters) to provide the engineering intelligence of not only the movement routes, but also object and parts of areas.

“The copter is equipped with a non—linear radar for follow-up exploration, a video camera and a radio channel for information transmission and control. If the machine following the engineering intelligence route detects a warning signal, it stops and clarifies the location where the signal is coming from. A copter flies out to the object and holds the follou-up exploration with the help of a radar. The operator sees the object via the video channel. The copter is equipped by a radar that not only allows detecting the electronic control devices, but also detect whether it is working or not. I.e. after the bombardment of the area of location of the explosive device control system, it can fly up closer and clarify whether we have hit it and killed the electronics. And only then send a bomb technician to carry out the final works”.

Such method of intelligence, detection and neutralization of the controlled explosive devices lets us practically exclude the actions of the military in the areas of direct danger, automatize a number of dangerous operations and carry them out remotely. Thus, STT Group proves again by its newest developments that it is the cutting edge of the innovative development of the engineering armament and is by right one of the top companies in its field of business, both in Russia and in the rest of the world.

by Viktor Murakhovskiy