RUSSIA’S lethal anti-tank mine which can blast 100ft in the air and fire explosives from above has been seen in Ukraine for the first time.
The so-called “smart-mine”, which is triggered when its target gets within 100m, has never been used on the battlefield before.
Russia‘s PTKM-1R top-attack mine launches itself into the air, scanning the ground for its target, and then firing an explosive slug from above.
Armoured vehicle turrets have thinner plating, making them more vulnerable to attack.
The mine, which is believed to have been introduced into service by Vladimir Putin‘s army in 2020, is similar to the US M-93 “Hornet” wide-area munition.
The mine contains sensors that listen for the sound of approaching vehicles, interpreting the vibrations to detect whether or not a tank is rolling by.
In theory, the mine is intelligent enough to distinguish between tanks and other vehicles, ignoring civilian cars and less important military hardware.
A picture was shared on Twitter of one of the mines placed in a field in Ukraine, reportedly taken three days ago.
The mine is placed on the ground facing upwards with its eight legs folded outwards, according to the Armament Research Services blog.
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Four directional acoustic sensors and seismic sensors are set off when the target vehicle comes within 100m.
At this point, the projectile’s flight path is calculated, and onboard systems put the target in their sights.
The mine then tilts down at a 30-degree angle towards the tank.
When it gets close enough, a 6.2lb explosive warhead is launched around 100ft into the air, as the mine’s infrared censors scan the ground below for the tank.
An explosive metal projectile is fired from the warhead at such high speeds that it can penetrate 7cm (almost three inches) of steel armour.
This whole launch process takes just a matter of seconds.
Tank armour has improved greatly in recent years and is often made from lighter ceramic alternatives to the traditional steel plating.
This means they are far more manoeuvrable while still protecting the crew inside.
Weapons developers have, therefore, tried to create a new generation of high-tech anti-tank weapons which strike from above, targeting the weaker turrets.
In November last year, the Russian military posted a video on YouTube, demonstrating the PTKM-1R’s power.
Slow-motion footage captures the moment it strikes an unmanned tank, hanging in the air for a split second before firing down at its target.
It isn’t known if the weapon has been used to destroy any Ukrainian tanks so far.
The country has become a graveyard for Russian tanks, and Ukraine’s military estimates that as of Friday, 986 have been destroyed since the start of the war.
Britain has sent thousands of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, greatly aiding the war effort.
The Next-generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon, or NLAW, is just a metre long, making it easy to carry on the battlefield.
It has a range of up to 800m and can penetrate armour more than 500m away, despite its relatively low cost of just £20,000 each.
Earlier this month, drone footage captured the moment an entire Russian tank column was obliterated.
Troops from the Ukrainian 54th Mechanized Brigade reportedly targeted the terrifying column of tanks with UAV corrected artillery.
They destroyed the Russian convoy in just a matter of minutes with a series of devastating strikes from hundreds of feet in the air.
Incredible footage shows the combat vehicles being taken out one by one in Donetsk – reportedly forcing any surviving soldiers to withdraw.
The tanks exploded into fireballs, leaving the narrow country road littered with scraps of the vehicles.
It comes as a former Nato chief warned that the West must “prepare for war with Russia,” sparking fresh fears of a global conflict.
Russia released a propaganda video on Friday of a submarine launching a volley of cruise missiles from under the Black Sea at Ukrainian targets.
Richard Shirreff, a former Nato deputy strategic commander for Europe, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program the Kremlin was likely to respond aggressively but assisting Ukraine was still the “right approach”.
He said: “The worst case is war with Russia.
“By gearing itself up for the worst case, it is most likely to deter Putin because ultimately Putin respects strength.”
Putin himself darkly warned he could use nuclear weapons against the UK and European allies in a speech earlier this week.
Today Russian state TV broadcast a chilling map claiming to show how fast a Sarmat ICBM could strike from the Kaliningrad enclave in the Baltic.
It gleefully warns Berlin can be nuked in 106 seconds, Paris in 200 seconds and London in 202 seconds.
Last night Britain’s defence secretary Ben Wallace warned Putin could declare a new world war in days.
He said he fears the Russian tyrant might use traditional Victory Day celebrations on May 9, which commemorate the end of World War Two, for a mass mobilisation of troops.
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