Dropping mines on the enemy positions has never been easier, because now it can be done remotely, on a large scale, and in nearly complete safety.
The first images appeared online confirming that the Ukrainian Army has started using 155mm RAAM projectile systems in ongoing battles against the invading Russian forces. Each projectile can carry nine anti-tank mines and can be used to control enemy movements.
The idea of packing projectiles with the mine clusters is not very new, and Ukraine already had HIMARS-compatible missiles that scatter anti-tank mines over the target area. But doing the same thing with regular howitzers is even simpler than that: after all, the number of multi launch rocket systems (MLRS) is still limited in Ukraine.
But the number of howitzers in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine is substantially larger than MLRS. Their projectiles are also cheaper than missiles. And now, with the RAAM artillery projectiles, every NATO-compatible howitzer becomes a potential mine layer, too.
155mm RAAM rounds were transferred to Ukraine a few months ago. The initial package of 1,000 shells arrived in September, followed by additional 5,000 units in October.
What does RAAM artillery projectile do?
RAAM stands for Remote Anti-Armor Mine System. These are 155mm howitzer shells packed with nine anti-tank mines each.
Two major modifications are available. Both of them contain self-destruct timers to eliminate unexploded ordnance after a pre-set time. One model has a self-destruct time of over 24 hours (RAAM-L), while the other has the same time of under 24 hours (RAAM-S). Otherwise, projectiles are identical.
These projectiles can be used to deliver mines at ranges from 4 to 17.6 kilometers (2.5 to 11.0 miles). The technology is compatible with M109, M198, and M777 series howitzers.
RAAM works well against armored vehicles. After the projectile is launched, a trigger-activated pusher plate pushes mines from the base of the projectile so they are scattered over the target area.
After dropping to the ground, mines are automatically activated and later detonated upon coming into contact with an armored vehicle, based on an electromagnetic sensing system.