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New anti-tank mine-clearing vehicle SDPMAC VULCAIN to enter into service with French army

The French Army DGA (Directorate General of Armaments) announced on March 30, 2023, via its Twitter account, the qualification of the SDPMAC (pyrotechnic mine-clearing system for anti-tank mines) mounted on an AMX-30 tank tracked chassis in the VULCAIN version. This version is derived from the upgraded SDPMAC system and incorporates new equipment and enhanced protection.
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New French army SDPMAC in VULCAIN version, a mine-clearing armored vehicle based on the tracked chassis of the AMX-30 MBT Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The DGA (Directorate General of Armaments) is the French organization responsible for defining, acquiring, and evaluating defense equipment and systems for the French armed forces.

The deployment of the SDPMAC within the French army began at the end of 2008 for the benefit of the 4 engineer regiments of the armored and mechanized brigades, namely: the 3rd RG, the 13th RG, the 19th RG, and the 31st RG.

The SDPMAC is an engineering vehicle based on AMX-30 tank tracked chassis which is specialized in breaching. The turret of the AMX-30 tank has been removed and replaced with engineering equipment as well as an Israeli-made CARPET rocket launcher mounted on the rear of the vehicle's hull. It enables the rapid neutralization of buried or scattered anti-tank mines, particularly to open a corridor (typically 100 meters long and several meters wide) allowing the safe passage of a combat vehicle formation. The vehicle's roof is also equipped with a small turret armed with a 7.62mm machine gun used for close defense.

The Israeli CARPET (Combat Area Route-Proving and Enhancing System) is a mine-clearing system designed to clear and secure routes for military forces operating in areas suspected to be contaminated with mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or other hidden hazards. Developed by the Israeli defense company IMI Systems (now part of Elbit Systems), the CARPET system is primarily used by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

The CARPET system consists of a remotely controlled or autonomous ground vehicle that is equipped with various sensors and tools to detect and neutralize mines and other hidden threats. It utilizes a combination of mechanical, electromagnetic, and acoustic means to detect and identify potential hazards. Upon detection, the system can neutralize the threat using a range of methods, including controlled detonation or mechanical destruction.

The primary advantage of the CARPET system is that it minimizes the risk to human personnel by keeping them at a safe distance from potential hazards during mine clearance operations. This is particularly important in urban environments or during combat situations where troops are required to move rapidly through potentially dangerous areas. The CARPET system can significantly improve the safety and effectiveness of mine-clearing operations by providing a reliable and efficient means of detecting and neutralizing mines and other hidden threats.

Eleven vehicles are currently in service in the French Army. The VULCAIN standard, an evolution of the upgraded SDPMAC, notably includes a winch, new ballistic protections, and a new rocket designed for remote activation of the mines to be treated.

The entire fleet of eleven SDPMACs will be upgraded to the new standard by 2024.

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