Drones Used to Find Toylike “Butterfly” Land Mines


A type of land mine called the “butterfly” has a particularly insidious reputation for two reasons: It is known for killing or crippling children who may pick up what looks a lot like a green plastic toy, and its mostly nonmetallic construction means it often evades traditional mine detectors. Butterfly mines’ light-touch detonators go off easily if stepped on by a fighter—or farmer—and their relatively small charge often maims people without immediately killing them.

More than a million Russian-made PFM-1 land mines—the most common butterfly type, possibly inspired by similar U.S. weapons deployed during the Vietnam War—still litter Afghanistan after decades of conflict. During the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, military helicopters dropped swarms of these mines, whose “wings” let them flutter to the ground.

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Source: Scientific American