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Mechanical Equipment in IED Clearance: Observations from Iraq

Mechanical equipment has been in the inventory of conventional military forces for the purposes of military engineering—including demining—since the Second World War. The integration of mechanical equipment into UNMAS Iraq clearance activities may have therefore seemed a natural evolution from what might be considered ‘conventional’ mine clearance, yet it brought with it a number of issues. A critical analysis of the most common concerns over the use of mechanical equipment in IED clearance provides ample evidence that not only can mechanical IED clearance be conducted safely, but it also offers some key advantages over manual activities.

Publication: The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction. Issue 25.2

Publication date: December 2021

About the authors: 

Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager, has over twenty years of experience in humanitarian demining operations with extensive experience in using mechanical assets in clearance. He has provided the leadership for the evolutionary processes described in this article.


Mark Wilkinson, Ph.D, an UNMAS (Iraq) Senior Operations Manager, has twenty years of professional experience in military and humanitarian mine action. As a former British Army Ammunition Technical Officer, he worked as a High Threat IEDD Operator in several operational environments before transitioning to HMA. He has an active research agenda focused around IED clearance in HMA environments.