May 26, 2011:
France is sending its new SOUVIM 2 mine clearing system to Afghanistan, to give it a chance to succeed under combat conditions. This makes it much easier to sell to export customers. More importantly, France has thousands of troops in Afghanistan, and if SOUVIM 2 works as advertised, it will save French lives. It will may also generate some sales to other NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan. To that end, SOUVIM 2 was designed to work with current MRAP vehicles used for mine clearing. SOUVIM 2 can clear 150 kilometers of road a day, at the rate of 10 kilometers an hour.
SOUVIM 2 consists of a tow vehicle, with a V shaped undercarriage and large, low pressure tires that impart too little pressure on dirt roads to trigger most anti-vehicle mines. The tow vehicle only carries one operator, whose cab is completely armored. This vehicle carries electronic mine detectors in front, and pulls two trailers that carry additional gear for detecting or triggering mines.
SOUVIM 2 is designed to detect or trigger a wide variety of mine designs, including some very old ones. A major source of sales is expected to be peacekeeping operations and civilian relief operations. Because of that, the equipment is designed for ease of use, and capable of being used by civilians after brief training.