Under the Comprehensive Assistance Package to Ukraine the UK has been supplying equipment to counter mines including the BCB PMEK, reports Bob Morrison.
It has been a fair few years since I last found myself surrounded by live minefields, and (in full compliance with a promise made to the person dearest to me) I have no immediate plans to put myself back in such a situation, but with open warfare in Europe just a three-hour flight away back in the news who can tell what the future might bring.
“Progress with the counter-offensive [in Ukraine] is painfully slow. And for good reason. Every inch has to be cleared of mines, often by ‘bellies on the ground’; but there are some innovative solutions available,” says Andrew Howell MBE, Managing Director of BCB International.
At the last expo which we attended the BCB International sales team showed us an example of their PMEK (Personal Mine Extraction Kit) as issued to Ukrainian soldiers for personal protection and when recently discussing this product with Andrew, he pointed to the ‘Bogged Down‘ article (a PDF) where he discusses the Cardiff company’s products relevant to the Ukraine situation. I reckon it makes interesting reading, so offered to provide a direct link. JOINT-FORCES readers were not the originally intended audience, but as there is nothing sensitive contained in the document BCB are happy for us to share it.
As for the BCB PMEK, this comprises of: a scraper to remove loose soil covering the device; a variable length mine prod strong enough to penetrate compacted ground; a set of 25 red and white pegs for marking mines / IEDs and cleared routes; 30 mini chemical light sticks for clipping to the marker pegs at night; a trip wire feeler; and an aide-mémoire on relevant techniques (in this case in Ukrainian). Everything is non-magnetic and packs neatly into a PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) belt pouch measuring 160x85x60mm and weighing just 420g. Its NATO Stock Number is NSN:4240-99458-9732 and different languages can be specified for the aide-mémoire.
Should any soldier or individual working for an NGO in troubled lands who is not issued with one of these but feels they might have a need for this potential lifesaver, it can be ordered direct from BCB International. The BCB Blast Boxers mentioned in Andrew’s article ‘Bogged Down‘, which use Kevlar panels to help protect the femoral arteries in the event of an explosion, are also available for private purchase from BCB… but of course the ROCK (Rapid Obstacle-Clearing Kit) Stick and Barracuda aren’t.
[images © Bob Morrison]