Latest weapon against Misrata port is smart mine. Dropped from helicopter? No – from Grad missile

A Point of View, Libya, Middle East & North Africa, Military, Politics | | May 6, 2011 at 14:36

Smart mine found in Misrata port  ~ photo by Ali Alramli

Approximately 20+ explosive devises called smart mines were dropped  into Misrata harbor and around the port yesterday.

Earlier reports claimed helicopters dropped the mines, but C.J. Chivers of the New York Times writes that they were delivered by a Chinese-made variant of a Grad rocket that opens in flight and drops the mines.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/world/africa/07libya.html?src=tptw

Still tweets and internet articles persist telling of Gaddafi helipcopters painted white with red crosses to look like International Red Cross, thus avoiding fire from Freedom Fighters on the ground and NATO detection. So far no images have been produced to verify the story.

The explosive devices are called ‘smart’ as in meant to be self-destructing and self-deactivating after a set time. Mines are dropped, maim, kill and wreak havoc, but are deactivated by time troops sent in.

ADAMs is another acronym associated with this type of mine which are Specifically called Aerial Drop Mines or Proximity Mines.

Notice parachute and base at bottom that snaps out to brace it upright. When it is fired from its pod, three spring loaded arms pop out from the side to its current position as it leaves the pod, thus arming the mine. This also releases the chute.

There is some discussion about whether this is a NATO design not used since 1999.

Other possibilities bantered around were Soviet Butterfly Mine PFM-1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PFM-1 and USA BLU-43 Dragontooth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLU-43. Also something called a MAT-120 and a Mi AP ID 51 mine: Originally French, used by Algeria. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Mines-and-Mine-Clearance/Mi-AP-ID-51-France.html

But the winner is – according to C. J. Chivers who sought four separate confirmations before posting his article – the Type 84 Chinese mine that has a self-destruct fuse that goes off anywhere 4 to 72 hours. http://ordatamines.maic.jmu.edu/displaydata.aspx

More on smart mines: http://www.banminesusa.org/qa/smart.htm

Visit @Acarvin Storify for complete history of twitter research. Storify.com/acarvin/munitions in misurata

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