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Wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Libya and Iraq have seen focus shift from traditional mine clearance to the disposal of booby traps and other explosive remnants of war (cluster munitions, unexploded bombs). This is the case now, particularly in regions where the Islamic State has been defeated, where widespread distribution of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has been preventing Iraqi refugees from returning to their towns and villages. In addition, attacks with car bombs and IEDs are also increasing in the countries bordering the conflict states. These remnants of war will need to be removed once the wars are over, according to the website of Global Clearance Solutions (GCS).
A new unmanned explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) platform was launched by the company at the IDEX 2017 defence exhibition held in Abu Dhabi in February. The GCS-200 can conduct counter-IED, mine-clearance and runway clearance missions. It is the medium-sized variant of the GCS family of EOD platforms, which also include the GCS-100 and GCS-300.
According to army-technology.com, the GCS-200 incorporates an advanced and unique design. The vital components under the body can be accessed through two hydraulic doors able to be opened simultaneously.
The EOD vehicle measures 4.19m long without attachment, whereas the overall length of the platform with manipulator arm is 10.57m. It can perform mine-clearance missions at a maximum rate of 12,000m² a day, at a speed between 0.8km/h and 2.3km/h. The manipulator arm can reach a maximum distance of 6.38m and lift a maximum weight of 1,000kg.
The standard three-point hitch allows for the integration of a range of interchangeable attachments for the clearance of anti-personnel (AP) and anti-tank (AT) mines, and manipulator arm for the clearance of IEDs and heavy enhanced radiation weapons (ERWs). It can also be attached with a dozer blade for earth-moving and removal of obstacles, and fork lift for lifting heavy objects.
The runway flail attached to the platform enables the destruction, collection and removal of hazardous objects and materials, while the runway clearance system aboard the vehicle enables gathering and clearance of cluster munitions and rubble.
The platform is also installed with an adaptable camera arm with pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera system. The arm can be splayed in vertical and horizontal directions to achieve more flexibility and better visibility during operation. The GCS-200 also integrates infrared (IR) and thermal cameras at rear and either side of the hull for 360° vision.
The EOD is protected by a Hardox steel shell that covers all vital components to protect them against ballistic threats. The components are designed to withstand rough climatic conditions.
The remotely controlled platform can be safely operated from an operator cabin or an armoured vehicle located at a line of sight distance of 1,000m.