USMC Assault Breacher Vehicle Conducts First Amphibious Landing with Modified Full Width Mine Plow Prototype

The U.S. Marine Corps’ (USMC) Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) conducted its first amphibious landing with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype during a long-range breaching exercise in the western United States.

The landing was conducted in December last year when the Marine Corps Systems Command used Exercise Steel Knight to test the plow prototype for the first time. Steel Knight is a division-level exercise designed to enhance command and control, and interoperability with the 1st Marine Division, its adjacent units and naval support forces.

In the future, this piece of equipment will make it easier for Marines to land and deploy an ABV from a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Utility (LCU) boat to the shore to complete their mission. The legacy Full Width Mine Plow on the ABV could not fit onto an LCU because it was too wide.

The modified plow prototype is not only easier to transport, but safer to use. Once the LCU drops the bow ramp onto land, Marines can drive the ABV off the boat, open the plow and breach the area to ensure they eliminate any unsafe obstacles.

The ABV Program Team plans to take the information and feedback from Marines gathered at Steel Knight to refine the design and improve the overall performance of the modified plow. The team wants to ensure the modified plow will meet all requirements of the legacy mine plow in performance and survivability. After the redesign is completed, the articles will be tested at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland.

The ABV Program is a part of Engineer Systems under the Logistics Combat Element Systems program at Marine Corps Systems Command.

M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV)

M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), nicknamed The Shredder, is a U.S. military mine- and explosives-clearing vehicle, based on the M1 Abrams-chassis, equipped with a mine-plough and line charges.

Its first large scale use by the US Marines was in the joint ISAF-Afghan Operation Moshtarak in Southern Afghanistan during the War in Afghanistan in 2010 against the Taliban insurgency.

These tracked combat vehicles were especially designed to clear pathways for troops and other vehicles through minefields and along roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices. The 72-ton, 12 m (40 foot) long vehicles are based on the M1 Abrams with a 1,500 horsepower engine, but fitted with a 12.7 mm machine gun and a front-mounted 4.5 m (15-foot) wide plow, supported by metallic skis that glide on the dirt and armed with nearly 3,175 kg (7,000 lb) of explosives.

The Breachers are equipped with Linear Demolition Charge System (LDCS): rockets carrying C-4 explosives up to 100–150 yards forward, detonating hidden bombs at a safe distance.

After the line charge detonates, landmines in its path are destroyed or rendered ineffective. Marines use the mine plow to sift through the mine field and push any remaining landmines off to the side, leaving a safe path for the assault force.

Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication, Marine Corps Systems Command

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