Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Minebusters Have Arrived

In May 2006, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces announced the EROC ( Expedient Route-Opening Capability) consisting of three new vehicle types: the South African Husky mine detector vehicle, and two US types, the Buffalo and Cougar mine-protected vehicles. All three types are to be purchased through the United States military – the six Huskys through the US Army, and the five Cougar EOD team transports and the five Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicles through the US Marine Corps (the actual order being placed by the US Navy). Deliveries have started arriving (with direct deployment to Afghanistan) and run until 2008. They have arrived to protect our soldiers!

For months, Canadians troops have been trying to steer clear of roadside bombs. Soon, a group of Canadian engineers will hit the dirt roads of Kandahar province hoping to hit a few.
"We hope to detect them but if we set them off, that's just as good," said Capt. David Holsworth, of the 5th combat engineer regiment, based in Valcartier, Que.
Those engineers will be at the wheel of the Husky, Canada's newest tool in the fight against an insurgent weapon that has killed more Canadian soldiers than any other -- the roadside bomb.
"A lot of those guys could have been saved if we had these earlier," Holsworth said yesterday, as engineers put the new vehicles through their paces in a field next to the Kandahar airfield.
"The section is really eager to get out there because they'll be saving their buddies' lives."
The Husky -- which looks like a road grader on steroids -- is meant to be blown up. Its armoured v-shaped hull deflects any blast away from the driver, who sits high up in a protected cab. Its four wheel are designed to be knocked off and quickly replaced.
"It's one of the best vehicles to survive a blast," Holsworth said.
It carries electronic and metal detectors to find buried bombs. It tows three trailers behind it, each with a set of wheels that will roll across a patch of road wide enough for other vehicles to follow safely in its tracks.
The Canadians had been relying on the Americans and their equipment to clear routes. But the Americans weren't available as often as the Canadians wanted so Ottawa decided to spend almost $30 million to buy the 16 new vehicles.
The Defence Department will also be taking delivery of the five Buffalos, which have a remote arm to uncover and disable bombs discovered in the road. The Cougars will carry remote-controlled robots and other devices to disable and destroy bombs.

The three vehicles are meant to travel together to clear a route for other traffic. But since the Buffaloes and Cougars aren't expected for a few more months, the engineers have asked for approval to deploy the Huskies on their own as soon as possible.
"There's definitely a use for deploying these now," Holsworth said.
One of the Husky drivers, Cpl. Tom Reid of Marystown, N.L., said that, even though his job is to hunt for things that will blow up, "I feel a lot safer in this vehicle than any other. It is designed to protect the driver."
Meanwhile, Canadian military officials acknowledged there was an anti-Canadian demonstration in Kandahar City yesterday to protest the seizure of some Afghan homes. The officials added that Canadians did not witness the protest, and that neither Canadian nor other coalition troops had been involved in house seizures.
According to one news report, between 300 and 500 angry men shouted slogans against foreign troops in Afghanistan and blocked a key road for hours. They alleged that soldiers had killed an "innocent" Islamic cleric and his brother in the Taliban-dominated Zhari district, about 35 kilometres east of Kandahar City.

1 comment:

katykat said...

just wanted to let you know that they article post on your page talk about my husband to be cpl tom reid and the job he does as a husky driver makes me so proud to see web pages like this remind me that they are their for the good reason and that they are much needed overseas ..thank a lot for taking the time to do a pages like this ..
sincerely a soldier wife ..