US Army searching for technical approaches and potential technical solutions to counter the threat from Anti-helicopter Mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)

January 3, 2017

The purpose-built anti-helicopter mines and IEDs are far more sophisticated and dangerous.These are not regular land mines buried in the ground, but sophisticated, radar-controlled air defence weapons that have been developed by several nations.

The US Army specifically cites “the fielding of anti-helicopter mines by Russia and Bulgaria.” Bulgaria, which seems to have developed these devices as far as as the late 1990s, offers several mines such as the AHM-200. The mine, which is emplaced on the surface rather than buried in the dirt, has an acoustic sensor which arms the weapon when it picks up the sound of the helicopter as far away as 1,500 feet. At a range of 500 feet, a Doppler radar tracks the target. When the helicopter gets within 300 feet, the mine detonates both an explosively formed projectile and an explosive charge packed with steel balls.

A 2012 Russian news video shows what looks like a similar device.

Poland has developed a mine that effectively fights helicopters that come within a range of up to 150m at a speed up to 300 km/h (—wojskowe-zak%C5%82ady-uzbrojenia-sa), and Austria has developed the anti-helicopter mine that uses an Infrared sensor and an acoustic sensor to detect airborne targets (

The US Army’s Anti-Helicopter Mine and Improvised Explosive Device Countermeasures project will have three phases:

  • PHASE I: Phase I will consist of a feasibility study which includes an overview of relevant historical and technical data. The study will identify technical and tactical characteristics of current and emerging Anti-Helicopter Mines and IED threats, to include fuzing, kill mechanisms and employment techniques. Finally, the study will identify potential innovative countermeasures, including their current technical maturity and their tactical and technical advantages and disadvantages.
  • PHASE II: Phase II will consist of the vendor providing a developmental prototype of the preferred approach, identified in Phase I, for testing against a variety of anti-helicopter mines and IEDs in conjunction with one or more rotary wing aircraft in an operational flight profile.
  • PHASE III: Phase III will consist of the vendor providing a technology demonstrator that incorporates the lessons learned from testing and analysis conducted in phase II. This technology demonstrator will be used to support the establishment of a program of record through the requirements development process of the US Army and other interested elements of the Department of Defense.

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