Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist

Manual demining tools

The AVS “Pick-prod”


This tool is designed as a substitute for pick-axes and other inappropriate ground breaking tools that are used in demining. It is used to break up the ground from the side and to keep the user’s hand low in the event of a detonation.

Made from “T” section mild steel, the Pick-Prod blade is a 31cm long in-line prod that can be used to pick at the ground with considerable force without the blade bending. In softer ground, a twisting movement breaks up the ground more efficiently than a bayonet. The user’s hand is protected by a washable and pliable aramid blast-shield in front of a comfortable 14cm long handle made using medium/high density polyethylene which does not shatter in a blast event.

The “T” section tapers to a point and is a compromise between allowing penetration and ensuring that the tool is strong enough not to be damaged in normal use. It is intended that ground broken with this tool would then be excavated with the Excavator.

The metal parts are hard-chromed to prevent rust. The tool weighs around 0.5Kg (1.2 lbs).

The tool stayed in one piece when placed on top of mines in tests. The blade curved gracefully. 

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.