HELSINKI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Finnish defense industries are developing a new kind of "jump charge" that is to fill the vacuum caused by the ban of anti-personnel mines in the Ottawa Treaty, Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto confirmed in Helsinki on Thursday.
Finland joined the Ottawa Treaty in 2011 and later destroyed its large stockpile of anti-personnel mines. The program of the current government under Prime Minister Juha Sipila defined in 2015 the creation of a replacement weapon for the personnel mines as a policy goal.
Niinisto elaborated in Helsinki on Thursday that the new weapon is "a remote controlled charge, that jumps up from the ground". "Unlike traditional mines that impact upwards or sideways from the ground, the new weapon throws bullets down from the gadget that has jumped up from the ground," said Niinisto, but he did not say the height the weapon reaches.
Talking to the press on Thursday, Niinisto noted the traditional anti-personnel mines were detonated through pressure of a human stepping on it or through a snare, and those forms of detonation were prohibited in the Ottawa mine ban treaty. "But here, a human decides, remotely, when the charge is detonated," he said.
Speculation about the new weapon has been published earlier in Finnish media. Finnish observers have said that the Ottawa agreement requires that a "mine-type" weapon must be detonated from a distance where it can be seen and also requires that the explosives do not cause a danger to civilians if left in the terrain.
Observers have said that Finland has been able to bypass both of the problems, but the defense forces have not given any details. Finland has not explained what kind of equipment will be used to provide "eye contact" to the location.
Contacted by Xinhua, Juha Martelius, a special assistant to the defense minister, said the ministry does not want to identify the developer of the new weapon at this time, but it is a Finnish manufacturer. Martelius said more details would be divulged "during early summer".
Niinisto was reluctant to say whether the new charge could be detonated also by a snare, news service Uusi Suomi reported. "Technically everything is possible," he was quoted as saying.
He said there has been international interest in the new Finnish solution.
When the Ottawa Treaty took effect in Finland, the country had well over million horn or pipe mines in its arsenal, and 16,000 could be retained for training, local media reported at the time.
The last personnel mines were destroyed in a giant fireball explosion at a military area in Kittila, Lapland in August 2015. Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported at the time that the pressure wave was tangible even eight km away.