Even today, with all the modern electronic devices at troops disposal, the old fashioned mine probe has a place in clearing land mines. Unlike more high-tech devices, the mine probe does not risk setting off mines that are designed to detonate through electro-magnetic fields and remains an essential tool in helping to clear buried explosive devices. The army issues non-magnetic mine probes to those involved in hunting out mines and IEDs, these are made of plastic and aluminium and come in a webbing case that can be attached to the belt:The webbing case encloses the probe and has a plastic fastex buckle to secure the probe into the case:A plastic slider buckle is fitted to the rear to allow it to be attached to other pieces of webbing:Inside the probe consists of a long non-magnetic metal shaft with a plastic handle:The end of the metal shaft unscrews to reveal the probe itself:This is a non-magnetic metal spike firmly attached into a threaded plastic collar:This can be flipped around and screwed into the end of the rod to allow the ground to be prodded for buried ordnance. The main shaft of the probe can be removed and the tip screwed into the plastic handle to make a shorter prodder that allows the operative to work on his stomach when under fire:The plastic handle has the /|\ acceptance mark moulded into the plastic and a label with the manufacturing date of April 2009 on it:The reverse has a second label with NSN number and the items details:These prodders are produced by a company called ABP and in their literature they describe it as:
The Non-Magnetic Mine Prodder has been developed to locate mines buried at depths up to 250mm. Primarily intended for situations where a magnetic device could activate also be used where magnetic fields are not considered important.
The prodder is lightweight, man portable and is stored until use in a carrier web attached to personnel in service webbing equipment.
For the detection of landmines, mine prodders are still often used instead of metal detectors. With this prodder, the minesweeper penetrates the soil a few centimetres. If they detect any resistance, the found object must be carefully laid open. The advantage of searching for mines by means of a prodder are a detection rate of almost 100% and it is possible to clear even very difficult ground. However, this procedure is extremely time consuming and due to the high rate of false alarms, some 1000 other objects are found per mine in the mine field, a minesweeper can only search a few square meters per day, depending on the ground situation.