As you no doubt know from news reports, landmines and other underground explosives are a hazard in many war-torn countries, including ones in which the battle has long-since ended. The military is always coming up with solutions to detect and safely detonate these explosives, as you can see here. If you’re familiar with World War II military gear or have played games like Company of Heroes, you might also be familiar with mine-detonating tanks. These tanks essentially are normal tanks with a huge attachment on the front, a blast shield along with a rotating horizontal shaft from which a number of chained weights are sent constantly spinning. These weights dig into the earth as the tank crawls forward, hammering at the ground and detonating any landmines that are in its path, the tank itself protected from the explosion by the shield and its distance from the explosion.
The Digger D-3 “flail tank” is much the same idea, although decidedly modernized. Announced recently, the biggest upside to this new design is that it’s remote-controlled, ensuring that the tank operators are further protected from explosions in the off-chance that a blast is delayed for whatever reason or simply too strong for the tank’s shield to handle. You can see the weights in the picture, essentially ten-pound hammers which batter the ground mercilessly to detonate buried explosives. When one is hit, some of these weights may be destroyed, but chunks of metal on chains are decidedly less costly than advanced military hardware like tanks themselves or, in worse scenarios, human lives.
The tank surely has room for spare hammers in its unmanned bulk to quickly replace any that are lost. Watch the video below to see the previous version, the Digger D-2, in action. It gives some good visuals to show just how devastating an underground mine can be, as well as how much of a beast this tank is to withstand the shielded blast. For even more badass military hardware, check out our articles on the HULC Exoskeleton, Snatch Land Rover, or a list of 17 Military-Inspired Gadgets.