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Butterfly Mine

  • 13 Aug 2022
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

The UK Ministry of Defence, in its intelligence assessment of the ongoing war in Ukraine, has sounded an alarm on the possible use of PFM-1 series ‘Butterfly Mines’ by the Russian military in Donetsk and Kramatorsk.

What are the findings of the Intelligence Assessment?

  • Russia might have deployed anti-personnel mines to deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in the Donbas (Donetsk & Luhansk).
    • These mines have the potential to inflict widespread casualties amongst both the military and the local civilian population.
  • In Donetsk and Kramatorsk, Russia has likely attempted employment of PFM-1 and PFM-1S scatterable anti-personnel mines.
    • The PFM-1 and PFM-1S are commonly referred to as ‘Butterfly mines’ or ‘Green Parrots’.
      • These names are derived from the shape and colour of the mines.

What is Butterfly Mine?

  • About:
    • It is a very sensitive anti-personnel landmine.
    • An applied force of 5 kg is enough to detonate the mine.
    • It is extremely dangerous, even for small children.
    • The major difference between PFM-1 & PFM-1S is that the latter one comes with a self-destruction mechanism which gets activated within one to 40 hours.
  • Uses:
    • They can be dropped from helicopters or through ballistic dispersion using artillery and mortar shells.
      • They glide to the ground without exploding and later explode on coming in contact.
  • Detection:
    • These mines are difficult to detect because they are made of plastic and can evade metal detectors.
  • Technical Specification:
    • They are moulded in polyethene plastic and have two wings, one of which is heavier than the other.
      • The thicker wing is the pressure activation for the main fuse which is contained in the central body.
      • The thinner wing acts as a stabiliser for the mine when it is air-dropped, thus giving it the name ‘butterfly’.
  • Conventions on Anti-Personal Mines:
    • The anti-personal mines are banned by international convention on land mines but Russia and Ukraine are not signatories to it.
    • There is a 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons-the Landmines Protocol to which Russia and Ukraine are signatories.

Source: IE

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