Sterling Global Operations (SGO) is operating the first Micro MineWolf (MW50) anti-mine armored tracked vehicle - designed for use in mountainous and other hard-to-access locations - in Kurdistan as part of SGO's work supporting oil and natural gas exploration, demining projects, and other services.
The first Micro MineWolf was sent to Kurdistan to support SGO's growing operations in the region. In March, SGO expanded its Kurdistan operations center and opened a new 200,000 square-foot logistics hub from which the Micro MineWolf operates.
MineWolf Systems AG, in Stockach, Germany, designed and built the Micro MineWolf.
SGO has conducted, or is conducting, demining and unexploded ordnance detection and removal in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world.
"This is a remarkably effective new tool in overcoming various types of explosives that up to now were dealt with by human beings, and it's a great support to our growing Kurdistan operations," said Alan Weakley, SGO president and chief operating officer.
"The Micro MineWolf version is smaller and more versatile than other MineWolf models," Weakley added, "which means it can be used in more rugged and hilly terrain, something quite common where we work. We're bringing the latest technology into the field, and that translates into greater productivity as we ensure safety for our customers."
SGO's demining and unexploded ordnance (UXO) work includes military force protection; safeguarding civilian populations; ensuring land is safe for agricultural and residential development; and clearing areas identified for oil and natural gas exploration and extractives industry mining operations.
Weakley said the Micro MineWolf got its first use on company projects in Kurdistan in support of oil and natural gas companies.
"The Micro MineWolf achieves quick access to areas with high amounts of metal contamination, which would slow manual deminers using detectors," Weakley said. "It will also be used to rapidly define the limits of mined areas."
A tracked vehicle, the remote-controlled Micro MineWolf uses a front-positioned "tiller" with flails and cutters that revolve around a circular drum to smash down upon buried mines and other explosive devices.
About the size of a small sport utility vehicle, the Micro MineWolf costs between $250,000-$500,000 (depending on specifications and attachments) and weighs 2,000 kilograms, or around 4,000 pounds. It fits on a trailer for easy transport.
The Micro MineWolf was field-tested in 2013 in Bosnia and Herzegovenia, where fierce fighting took place between 1992 and 1995.