Zemledeliye is equipped with Russian engineering units, not artillery, but they are no less effective than howitzers.
According to US media, Russia’s Zemledeliye remote minelaying system is creating a difficult challenge for the Ukrainian military. The mine defenses erected by Zemledeliye are preventing Ukrainian units from advancing deep into Russian-controlled areas in the Donbass and Zaporizhzhia regions. “Zemledeliye is equipped with Russian engineering units, not artillery, but they are no less effective than howitzers. It is clear that this minelaying system is a threat to Ukraine’s counter-offensive,” said military experts.
The counterattack was carried out by the 47th Ukrainian Mechanized Brigade in early June near Malaya Tokmachka. They were unable to make it through the minefield set up by Zemledeliye and lost 2 Leopard tanks and 16 M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. According to the US media, minefields pose a serious problem for any strike force. A 70-ton Leopard 2 with frontal armor thick enough to withstand modern anti-tank weapons, but rendered useless against Zemledeliye’s anti-tank mines.
The Russian Zemledeliye remote minelaying system was officially introduced on June 24, 2020. The war in Ukraine marked the first deployment of this minelaying system. The mines launched by this system are programmable, meaning they can be deactivated or self-destructed in the future with the cessation of hostilities. Dense minefields, bogged down the Ukrainian advance, leaving stranded armor surrounded by mines vulnerable to artillery and Ka-52 helicopters firing anti-tank missiles.
Zemledeliye is a modern Russian engineering vehicle for remote mine-laying, designed to rapidly create minefields in especially dangerous directions. The vehicle is designed to rapidly create minefields in especially dangerous directions at a distance between 5 and 15 km. It fires rocket shells, which ensure the installation of mines in a given area. It is possible to lay minefields of any complexity, including with passages for the own troops.
From the exterior, the 122mm tube launchers of the engineering vehicle resemble those launched by the Grad MLRS. The ISDM uses similar 122mm ammunition, but for mining, it uses ammunition with a warhead filled with ready-for-installation mines.
The remote mine-laying system includes a launcher carrier on an eight-wheeled armored KamAZ chassis, a support reloading vehicle, and transport and launch pod containers with engineering ammunition. The combat vehicle has two launch pod containers with 25 rockets each. It is equipped with a satellite navigation system, a computer, and a weather station, which allows making adjustments and considering the influence of the weather on the rocket flight.
In addition to the launchers, the system also includes a rocket transport-reload vehicle. The loading of the launcher is done very quickly, unlike traditional MLRS – changing the whole block of 25 launchers.
The launch vehicle and the transloader vehicle are based on the KamAZ-6560 8×8 truck chassis, offering mobility and protection. The launch vehicle carries 50 122mm rockets, each loaded with scatterable anti-personnel or anti-tank mines. In contrast, the transloader vehicle has a reloading crane, facilitating swift and efficient ammunition replenishment.