A nice picture, courtesy of 21 Engineer regiment Royal Engineers

Abacot Minewolf C-IED

The caption

After arriving in Afghanistan and completing the familiarisation package, I was ready to get settled in and acclimatised to life on tour. During week two I was fortunate enough to be tasked with training on and operating the new remote controlled mine clearance machine, strangely called ‘Abacot’. At first glance of the machine, with all its attachments, different functions and cameras it all seemed very complicated but that all changed after getting some good hands on and spending a few days putting the Abacot through its paces.

The controls are via a remote system, it will be used to ensure areas are clear of IEDs and therefore providing safe passage for our troops. It is also designed to keep its operator (Me) out of harm’s way. I am now all trained up and looking forward to getting the Abacot out on the ground and using it for the purpose it was designed for saving lives both military and local national.

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November 23, 2012 3:56 pm

I see your Abacot and raise you a Churchill:

Adam Sugden
Adam Sugden
November 23, 2012 7:42 pm

Aardvark JSFU (Joint Service Flail Unit) Mark 4

Adam Sugden
Adam Sugden
November 23, 2012 7:46 pm
Adam Sugden
Adam Sugden
November 23, 2012 7:47 pm

Mike W
November 24, 2012 1:36 pm

TD and others

I believe from what I have read about it that Abacot has a variety of attchments, including a flail, a tiller and a vegetation cutter.

I would imagine that some, like the vegetation cutter, would be employed very frequently but I was wondering how often the flail was being used. The sapper who wrote the article I read said that his unit had not yet employed it. Would it be used for beating ground to remove IEDs and mines or would it have other uses? It is quite interesting, though, just how ideas/technology seem to keep returning in the military sphere. Both the flail and multiple rocket launchers were frequently employed in the Second World War, then seemed to disappear from Western armies for about 30-odd years before a re-awakening of interest took place in the 1970s and 80s.

Damned good idea that the Abacot is remote-controlled. Will save many lives.

November 24, 2012 3:16 pm

Mike, think the problem was that NATO is defensive minded, which means that they assume that they are the ones utilizing defence in depth and minefields, so the focus was on laying them, not clearing them, though there alway was some residue capability left, with mineplows and other tactics.

IIRC on one exercise when I was an observer, an officer called down a half hour long impact fused artillery barrage on a minefield to clear it. Not sure how that would have worked out in real life, but I’m sure that would have cleared a few safe zones to get his tanks through.

Mike W
November 24, 2012 3:35 pm


I’m sure you’re right about NATO being defensive-minded.

“…an officer called down a half hour long impact fused artillery barrage on a minefield to clear it.”

Yeh, right. I’m pretty sure that I read about artillery being used to clear minefields in WWII. There was something about flamethrowers also being employed but of course they’ve long gone.