Robotic demining platform RAP-0001 is the first mine robot of its kind made in Latvia. The manufacturer has also given it the nickname “Labais” (The Good One).
The “Labais” is driven remotely -- with a console that can be even more than half a kilometer away from the robot. This mine clearance system is designed for bombs up to three kilograms.
“This is directly for foot soldiers, where people can move - forests, shrubs, ditches. Therefore, the first requirement on the part of the Ukrainians was for something of a small size capable of maneuvering to carry out mine clearance work. Send in front of people so that after that it is safe for soldiers to walk around the area,” said Uģis Svirido, a board member of LV-teh Ltd.
“You need the weight of an adult, mimicking the weight of a soldier by driving onto an explosive object, then it detonates,” said Neils Sniedziņš, board member of Teters Ltd.
4,000 mine clearance kits have been produced for donations and will also go to Ukraine. “This is where C4 or some other plastic explosive is inserted, this is where the detonator comes in, which is triggered remotely. This forms a kind of beam that breaks down this unexploded ammunition,” Sniedziņš said.
The “Labais” and mine clearance kits will be delivered this week to the Ukrainian rescue services, which cleans the liberated areas from the occupation's “gifts” before allowing residents to return.
Unfortunately, there are so many explosive objects out there that mine miners will still have their hands full of work long after the war ends. The occupants often hide them in places where civilians would suffer.
“We find small mines and grenades hidden in civilian homes, kindergartens, even children's toys. Also in places where agricultural work takes place. By gross estimates, we will need between 80 and 100 years to completely clear the area from mines,” said Anatoly Kucevol, Ukraine's ambassador to Latvia.
EUR 400,000 has been donated to the “Good News” program, and various technologies prepared by Latvian producers have already arrived on the battlefields of Ukraine.
“There are all sorts of things out there - quad bikes, weapons platforms, drones, and other things we can quickly, mobilely prepare and send to Ukraine here. [..] One is that we are helping Ukraine. The second – we help develop our military industry and future security,” said Rūta Dimanta, head of “Ziedot.lv”.
Acceptance of donations is still ongoing and so is the production of new defense technologies. The big brother of the “Labais” robot is already being developed in Latvian engineering workshops – a larger demining platform, which will also be able to deal with anti-tank mines and even larger bombs.