Slovakia to buy Bozena 4 mine-clearing vehicles for Ukraine


According to Teraz SK on November 13, 2023, the upcoming Slovak government intends to shift its focus on Ukraine aid from military assistance to humanitarian support. Juraj Blanár, the head of Slovak diplomacy, stated that the Slovak Republic will fund the production of two Bozena 4 remote-controlled mine-clearing vehicles for Ukraine, expected to be operational in the Kherson region by the beginning of next year.
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The Bozena 4 is capable of withstanding anti-tank mines with a blast resistance rating of 9 kg TNT equivalent, making it suitable for high-threat contamination zones. (Picture source: Way Industries)


The new government of Slovakia aims to provide assistance to Ukrainians, particularly during the winter and will direct its humanitarian aid efforts accordingly. Blanár mentioned that there is also an offer in the area of demining, leveraging the experience of the Slovak army, which they are willing to share, as the new Slovak government has decided to cease providing military aid at the state level. However, it clarified that all commercial matters related to arms contracts fall under the purview of individual companies operating in Slovakia, and the government will not impede their business activities.

As reported on September 8, 2023, the Ukrainian Armed Forces already deployed a Bozena 4 remotely-controlled mine-clearing vehicle for demining operations in an unspecified area of Ukraine.

The Bozena 4 is a remotely controlled demining system developed by Way Industry in Slovakia, designed for mine clearance and Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) tasks. It has been in service for over 15 years and is recognized for its reliability in mine clearance operations. One notable feature is its blast resistance, capable of withstanding anti-tank mines with a blast resistance rating of 9 kg TNT equivalent, making it suitable for high-threat contamination zones.

The Bozena 4 is remotely controlled with a range of up to 5,000 m, allowing operators to maintain a safe distance from hazardous areas. The system is designed to clear various types of mines, including anti-personnel (AP), and anti-vehicle (AV) mines, as well as pressure and tripwire-fused mines.

The Bozena 4 is capable of clearing up to 2,500 square meters per hour, facilitated by a flail unit operating at rotating speeds ranging from 350 to 500 RPM, a width clearance of 2.2 m, and a depth of up to 250 mm. Additionally, it can remove tripwires and vegetation up to a height of about 4 m.

Proven through testing in various locations, including Croatia, Ethiopia, Turkey, Kenya, and Sweden, the Bozena 4 has demonstrated reliability and effectiveness in real-world demining challenges. Several countries, including Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka, have recognized its capabilities and deployed the Bozena 4 for mine clearance operations.

The deployment of this equipment is expected to enhance Ukraine's demining capabilities, as the country is currently confronted with a severe landmine crisis. Landmines deployed by the Russian military have created an extensive minefield covering an area of 250,000 square kilometers, exceeding the size of the entire Korean Peninsula (220,000 square kilometers).

The urgency of demining operations in Ukraine is rooted in the context of the Russian invasion that began in February 2022. Ukraine is currently confronted with a severe landmine crisis, with landmines deployed by the Russian military creating an extensive minefield covering an area of 250,000 square kilometers, exceeding the size of the entire Korean Peninsula (220,000 square kilometers).

This contamination poses significant challenges, highlighting the critical role played by mine-clearing vehicles, including both locally-made Pozhmashina PM-B and an unnamed farm tractor-based UGV, and foreign existing mine-clearing vehicles, such as the German Wisent 1, the Slovakian Bozena-5, the South Korean tank-based K600 Rhino, and the Swiss Digger D-250.