Ukrainian heavy drones drop TM-62 antitank mines as aerial bombs

According to a tweet from OSINTtechnical dated October 1, 2023, Ukrainian heavy drones have been spotted dropping TM-62 anti-tank mines against Russian forces. Traditionally used as ground-based anti-vehicle weapons, these mines are now being dropped from the air as improvised aerial munitions. In the video, we can see the destruction of a Russian bunker using this technique.
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Strike on a Russian bunker by a Ukrainian drone having dropped a TM-62 anti-tank mine (Picture source: Twitter/X Account of OSINTtechnical )

While Ukraine's conventional air force has suffered significant losses, its drone fleet has grown at an impressive rate. Consumer drones like DJI Mavics have been adapted to drop small 30mm and 40mm grenades, but the Ukrainian military has also developed heavy multicopter bombers. These drones, mainly hexacopters and octocopters, are assembled from imported components and come in various models, including the Kazhan and the Vampire.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation, recently announced the purchase of 270 Vampire drones as part of the Army of Drones initiative. These drones are capable of carrying payloads of up to 15kg over a distance of 6.4km or 10kg over 9.6km. Equipped with thermal imaging for night operations, these drones have already demonstrated their effectiveness in several scenarios, such as the destruction of a Russian bunker.

While mortar bombs are effective against armored vehicles, TM-62 mines offer a more powerful option for targeting bunkers and fortified positions. These heavy mines are primarily used against static targets and offer greater destructive force compared to traditional mortar bombs.

The TM-62 is a blast-effect anti-tank mine of Soviet origin, produced in several variants. It is generally equipped with a 7.5-kilogram explosive charge and a central detonator. The different variants of the TM-62 can vary considerably in detail, ranging from circular metal casings to plastic, wood, or even cardboard casings. This mine can be laid manually or automatically using various mine-laying systems, including wheeled or tracked vehicles and helicopter mine-laying systems.

The TM-62 can be equipped with different types of detonators, including those sensitive to vibrations and magnetism. The latter type of detonator allows the mine to detonate when any part of the target vehicle passes over it, not just the tracks or wheels. However, the operational lifespan of magnetic detonators is limited by battery life.

The deployment methods of these air-dropped TM-62 mines have evolved. In some cases, a hand grenade detonator is inserted directly into the mine's explosive, allowing it to be dropped from a tray under the drone. In other versions, the mines are equipped with improvised fins for better accuracy.

This use of drones and anti-tank mines offers precision attacks at a fraction of the cost of traditional guided munitions. As these drones continue to evolve, future iterations are expected to feature more advanced targeting software, improving their accuracy and effectiveness on the battlefield.

Ukrainian Heavy Drones Deploy TM 62 Anti Tank Mines as Aerial Bombs 925 002Anti-Tank Mine TM-62 used by Ukrainian UAV ( Picture source: Ukrainian MoD)