Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
January 6, 2010
New USMC Technology Blasts Into Afghan Town
The U.S. Marine Corps has rolled out a new weapon in combat: the 62-ton Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), a tracked, armored vehicle that can clear a lane through mine fields, expose and detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and plow a path though obstacles.
The ABV uses the chassis of a General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams tank, with the turret removed in favor of a line-charge device, while adding a plow on the front that can churn up the ground, exposing any IEDs that might be buried in its path. The Mine Clearing Line Charge (Miclic) carries 1,750 pounds of C4 explosive that can be shot out 100 meters, then detonated remotely.
The Marines cleared a total of 11,500 meters of breech lane while shooting 24 Miclic line charges during operation Cobra’s Anger earlier this month near the Afghan town of Now Zad in Helmand province, 1st Lt. Jody Stelly of the Marines’ 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion said.
Stelly also said that the Miclics were used to “shoot into certain compounds” where the enemy was suspected to have a stronghold to reduce the walls. The line charge clears an area 14 meters wide. There are currently five ABVs in Afghanistan, and the Marines have plans to field a total of 52 by 2012, of which about 34 have already been produced. The U.S. Army also has plans to buy 187 ABVs in the coming years, a handful of which have already been produced.