Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist
 

Manual demining tools

The AVS demining trowel
 

 

The AVS demining trowel is a small excavation tool designed to remove spoil loosened with the Pick-prod or the Needle-probe, or to dig entire excavations in soft soils. It's length makes it hard to use vertically, and keeps the deminer's hand 30cm from a likely detonation.

Made using a malleable stainless steel head and shaft, the tool has a handle made of non-shattering polyethylene. The user’s hand is protected by a small aramid hand-guard. 

The trowel has performed well in all tests against real mines, staying in one piece and bending as designed.

The tool weighs around 0.7Kg (1.5 lbs).

A clip of neodymium magnets that attaches to either side of the trowel blade (for left or right-handed use) is an optional extra. The magnets are light but very powerful and attract fragments as the tool is used.

The back of the tool is first passed over the ground to attract surface fragments, then loosened spoil is tipped over the magnets and off the blade. Removing the ferrous material quickly can increase the speed of metal-detector clearance dramatically.

The magnet clip is easily removed when it would get in the way. It also fits most other tools that have a flat-blade.

These magnets may initiate Type 72b anti-personnel blast mines by activating their anti-tilt trembler switch.

As well as having been sold to military users in South America and Europe, this tool is known to have been used in Vietnam, Angola, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Sudan.