A major problem facing all formal Landmine Clearance Agencies is how to maintain expensive mechanical systems in a very harsh environment. If an agency invests heavily in a machine
for clearance operations, the machine is of no use if it breaks down in the field due to mechanical failure, mine blasts, etc.
Most mine fields by their nature are sometimes hundreds of miles away from large towns and qualified workshops. The challenge to DTW was to design a repair-maintenance programme that would be extremely mobile, flexible and highly- skilled.
In 2004, DTW and The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Cambodia entered into a new partnership whereby DTW assumed overall responsibility for maintaining and repairing MAG’s fleet of Tempest Clearance Systems. At the time, only five machines were involved. With the successful performance of the TEMPEST combined with DTW’s maintenance programme, MAG could clearly see that having machines working all-day, everyday, not only increased land clearance but also reduced MAG’s operating costs per square meter cleared.
The Service and Maintenance Programme (SMP) meant that MAG could assign some of its Tempest mechanical staff to other projects. As part of the undertaking, DTW set up provincial workshops and offices in the Battambang and in Preah Vihear regions. These workshops were supplied with an inventory of tools and equipment. Staff were provided with off-road motorbikes outfitted with built-in toolkits. A staff member of DTW can now be anywhere within Cambodia in four working hours, regardless of location, weather, access roads.
The success of this joint programme lies in the training provided by DTW staff to our partner organisation. We run professional refresher courses on a regular basis to help and support our partners.
The Service and Maintenance Programme is now in its fourth consecutive year and is a proven success. In addition to MAG, the service is also being used by the HALO Trust Cambodia, the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Research & Development Center (CERDEC), Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) Humanitarian De-mining (HD) Program.
The service programme has now extended beyond Tempest related products. Repairs and maintenance are now being performed on the MAXX+ , a remote controlled non-intrusive landmine/UXO clearance machine made in Africa.