The Zemledeliye remote minelaying complex is expected to slow down the progress of Ukrainian Army soldiers on the battlefield.
Tula manufacturer NPO Splav announced that they have just handed over to the Russian Army a shipment of several Zemledeliye (Agricultural) remote minelaying complexes for use on the Ukrainian battlefield.
NPO Splav is engaged in the development and production of multiple multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs), including the TOS-1A Solntsepek heavy flamethrower system. Meanwhile, Zemledeliye is also arranged according to MLRS principle.
From a distance, the operation of the Zemledeliye complex actually looks a lot like a Grad or Tornado-G type MLRS system. “Agriculture” also uses 122mm rocket shells, the only difference is that it quickly places minefields in the most dangerous directions within a range of 5 – 15 km.
The Zemledeliye remote minelaying system was introduced on June 24, 2020. Attempts to create such a complex were made by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Early versions based on the BM-21 Grad proved unsuitable, due to its low accuracy and inability to actively deploy the field mine.
Then appeared the multi-purpose mobile minelaying system (UMP), but the operating range was short, only about 100 m. Another vehicle – a minelayer using a GMZ-3 chassis – can quickly spread mines to create a minefield in the required shape.
However, this system can only lay anti-tank mines and the minefield area is relatively narrow, only with Zemledeliye, the Russian Army is able to create “smart” minefields from afar, with a fairly wide range, placing both anti-tank mines and anti-infantry mines in a precise location on all terrains.
The Zemledeliye remote minelaying system uses a four-axle KamAZ 8×8 truck chassis, a product also manufactured by NPO Splav – a member unit of the state-owned technology corporation Rostec.
The complex consists of 2 blocks of 25 launchers, with 50 rockets of 122 mm size using solid fuel, minimum range – maximum range of 5 – 15 km. Each block has the capacity to spread both anti-tank mines and anti-infantry mines.
In addition to the launcher, the system also includes a transport-recharge vehicle. Loading the launcher vehicle is done very quickly, unlike the traditional MLRS that has to load each bullet, Zemledeliye replaces the whole cluster of 25 launchers.
Both the launcher and the loader have an armored cabin. Rocket launch preparation carries different types of self-destructing mines and firing is fully automated.
The KamAZ 8×8 vehicle is used to transport ammunition and launchers to the firing position, automatically preparing flight data, the time and location of the rocket’s reducer activation as well as the self-destruct parameters of the mine.
Besides, it also automatically calculates the remote minelaying area, exchanges information through communication channels with superiors, controls vehicles and transport trucks; provides mine and minefield information to unit commanders and other combat vehicles.
To do this, the Zemledeliye remote minelaying system is equipped with its own satellite navigation system, computer, and meteorological station. Here are the 2 main types of ammo that it carries.
The 3M16 ammunition has a length of 3.02 m and a mass of 56.4 kg, carrying 5 POM-2 anti-personnel mines placed in a longitudinal row. Land mines are fixed with 4 legs when landing and are released on both sides with 4 10 m long ropes. When these strings are stretched, the fuse will be activated.
Meanwhile, the 9M28K ammunition has a length of 3.02 m, a mass of 57.7 kg, carrying 3 PTM-3 anti-tank mines containing 1.8 kg of explosives. Launching and activating to lay anti-tank mines is similar to that of anti-personnel mines.
Anti-tank mines have fuses that are activated either by a magnetic field or when the mine is displaced. To create a minefield 1 km ahead of the front line, 90 9M28K shells were needed with a total of 270 PTM-3 mines.
The Zemledeliye remote minelaying system has been reported to have been in combat in the direction of Kharkiv since March 2022, when it created minefields to hinder the progress of Ukrainian infantry and armor.
Currently, “Agricultural” systems are more and more important to the Russian Army, as they are on the defensive in Kherson as well as in some areas in the Donbas region.