You’ve seen the news about the Battle of Marjah in southern Afghanistan. And you’ve heard that one of the major challenges facing the Marines are mines and IEDs slowing their advance. Well, one part of the toolkit for the Marines is a vehicle adapted from the M-1 Abrams tank especially to clear minefields. Behold, the Assault Breacher Vehicle, or ABV.
That “comb” on the front of the ABV is a plow to dislodge any landmines or IEDs buried along the ABV’s path. Now, ABVs don’t have a monopoly on plows. Often, one tank in each Abrams platoon (of 4 tanks) will have a plow.
The big boxes on the back of the ABV contain Mine Clearing Line Charges, or MICLICs. The MICLIC consists of a rocket that drags a tube of high explosives through the air then lays them along the intended path, across any suspected minefields. After the charge is emplaced, it is detonated, and the blast pressure from the explosion causes any mines nearby to sympathetically explode.
The Marines like their ABVs, and the Army, which has let its engineering vehicle capability slide, may purchase some as well.