Preparing anti-tank mines is tough and slow work. The mines weigh around 10 kilos each, and preparing mine holes on asphalted roads is hard. Breaking through the asphalt is laborious, and carrying the mines can wear our soldiers fast.

The Sleeper counter mobility system by Finnish company FMG Defence makes laying mines fast and light work. Using the system, a crew of three soldiers with a single vehicle can lay 30 anti-tank mines in just half an hour. A crew of seven soldiers working in two shifts, for example, can continue laying mines at this rate from one day to the next.

Using the Sleeper system is extremely simple. A soldier with a driving license can learn to use it in just 15 minutes, it can be serviced in the field using the tools it carries, and it can be operated using almost any inexpensive and multifunctional vehicle. Thanks to the affordability of the Sleeper system, as many units as are needed can be procured to supply all engineering and other units.

Kaera drilling unit handles asphalt with ease

The heart of the Sleeper system is the Kaera drilling unit. The hydraulically operated Kaera drilling unit can be attached to a truck with a separate lift or simply to the front loader of a tractor, wheel loader or telehandler, without preventing the loader from being used normally.

The operator starts the Kaera drilling unit and lowers it with the loader. The unit then drills a mine hole with a depth of 15–40 centimetres in the soil, gravel or asphalt in under a minute.

The Kaera drilling unit weights 900 kilos and requires 50 l/min of hydraulic output and 200 bar pressure, which any modern vehicle can easily produce. A mounting plate enables the drilling unit to be removed and attached to the front loader in around a minute. In addition, the front loader can be used simultaneously with forks or a bucket, for example.

Kiosk carrier pallet transports mines

The second part of the Sleeper system is the Kiosk carrier pallet, which is attached to the rear of the same vehicle to which the Kaera drilling unit is attached – for example, to the rear linkage of a tractor. The Kiosk carrier pallet can carry approximately 50 to 90 anti-tank mines. As the vehicle moves slowly forwards as the Kaera drills mine holes, two soldiers following the vehicle on foot lift mines from Kiosk carrier pallet and lay them in the prepared holes, after which the mines can be armed and concealed.

Normally, moving anti-tank mines is extremely tough work. With the Kiosk, by comparison, soldiers hardly get tired at all, as all they have to do is lift the mine off the carriage and lower it into the hole. This makes it possible for a small crew of soldiers to lay even large mine fields in very little time.

Multiple Kiosk carrier pallets can be used per vehicle, allowing one to be filled under cover while the other is being used to lay mines. Kiosk carrier pallets can be stacked on top of each other, and they can be moved using standard forks. Each Kiosk carrier pallet is the size of two standard pallets.

MIL-Cage storage pallet

The MIL-Cage is a storage pallet that fits on top of the Kiosk carrier pallet. The MIL-Cage storage pallet is used to conveniently carry all the tools and equipment needed to lay mines. For example, it can be used to store backpacks, spades and accessories for marking mines, such as signs, flags and ribbons.

When attached to a tractor, for example, the entire system can be moved at speeds of up to 60 km/h, or even 80 km/h when attached to a Unimog truck, for example. The Sleeper system has no impact on the vehicle’s off-roading capabilities.

Fast, simple – and affordable

Perhaps the best thing about the Sleeper system is its price. Rather than being a special armoured vehicle costing millions, Sleeper is a simple package of accessories that can be fitted to a standard tractor, wheel loader or truck, for example. The price of the Kaera drilling unit is approximately 30,000 euros, while the Kiosk and MIL-Cage together cost approximately 15,000 euros.

Because the system is inexpensive, it can be procured in sufficient numbers to supply each unit and counter each threat rapidly, and because it is so simple to use, multiple operators can be trained in very little time. Furthermore, the Sleeper system does not prevent the vehicle it is attached to from being used for other tasks, such as loading. In many cases, the system can be integrated with existing machinery, eliminating the need to find other vehicles for the job. In addition to machinery equipped with a front loader, the Kaera drilling unit can be attached to the front of a truck of armoured personnel carrier, for example.

The Sleeper counter mobility system is already used by the Finnish Defence Forces and is part of NATO’s joint procurement system. The NSN number for the Kaera drilling unit is 1095-58-001-8046 and the company’s NCAGE code is A946G.