Russia Plans To Add Remote Mining UAV Platoons to Engineer Units

A Soviet/Russian made POM-2 [R1] fragmentation anti-personnel mine on display.

“The use of UAVs for the remote laying of anti-personnel mines will ensure the element of surprise when used in both the defense and offense…”

The war in Ukraine continues to drive changes in military units and doctrine. Innovative use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been a common theme for both Russia and Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Both countries have modified UAVs to lay mines. The accompanying excerpted article from the Russian monthly Военная мысль (Military Thought) discusses Russian plans to formalize this capability by creating a “special mining platoon” within certain engineer units. Although this is one of the first mentions of how adaptations from the so-called “special military operation”[i] are being implemented into Russia’s version of a Modification Table of Organization and Equipment (MTO&E), it is unlikely to be the last. Other novel uses of UAVs, including as “suicide drones,” will likely be integrated into Russian MTO&E structures soon.


D.F. Evmenenko and S.I. Melnik, “Дистанционное минирование местности при помощи

Малых беспилотных летательных аппаратов (The use of small unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct remote mining),” Военная мысль [Military Thought] (monthly Russian military periodical), September 2023.

Combat actions in the special military operation do not have the characteristics of high intensity [warfare] and rapid battlefield changes due to widescale usage of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The most widespread among them are multi-rotor helicopter-type devices (multicopters). Simple, cheap and reliable, they are easy to control and very maneuverable at low speeds and low altitudes. These systems can easily change targets in the field. In addition, such systems are easy to transport, scalable in size and load capacity…

The Second World War, military conflicts of recent decades, especially in the Persian Gulf region (Operation Desert Storm), and the US Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan show that their effectiveness increases several times when used suddenly and unexpectedly…

Although remote mining by aviation and artillery troops can be carried throughout the entire operational depth of an enemy formation, the remote mining capabilities of engineer troops are substantially more limited… The UMZ [R1]  and GMZ-K [R2]  universal minelayers only have a range of up to 200 m…

The need arose to develop a system that would allow the creation of minefields under any combat conditions in compliance with the requirements for safe the use of remote mining means for our troops.  As part of solving this problem, specialists from the Tyumen Higher Military Engineering Command School (TVVIKU) developed a device for discharging antipersonnel POM-2R mines…

The use of UAVs for the remote laying of anti-personnel mines will ensure the element of surprise when used in both the defense and offense…It is proposed to use UAV crews with mine containers in a special mining platoon (SMP) with 6 UAVs…The platoon consists of two squads, each with 6 personnel, 3 UAVs, and an all-terrain vehicle such as a UAZ ‘Wolverine’.

Characteristics of a Mine-Laying Multicopter-Type UAV (exact model unspecified in source)


[i] Moscow insists on using the term spetsial’naya voyennaya operatsiya (“special military operation”) or spetsoperatsiya (“special operation”) to describe its campaign in Ukraine.

Image Information:

Image: A Soviet/Russian made POM-2 [R1] fragmentation anti-personnel mine on display.
Attribution: CC BY-SA 3.0