Combat engineers assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Benning, are the first deployable unit to receive the latest in breaching technology, the Assault Breacher Vehicle.
Beginning Jan. 11 and continuing through February, the Soldiers of C Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd HBCT, will receive, train and test the new vehicles.
“This is a step forward for the Army,” said Staff Sgt. Ali Mohammad, a squad leader with C Company. “Gone are the times of three to four squads of guys, out in the battle space, under risk of enemy fire. Now it’s two Soldiers paving the way.”
Not only highly effective, the new ABV reduces the risk to Soldiers during kinetic operations.
“It’s safety for Soldiers,” said Jeff Maxwell, an artillery repairer with Anniston Army Depot. “Two people can now conduct IED (improvised explosive device) and mine clearing missions.”
The ABV is a tracked, armored engineer vehicle specifically designed for conducting in-stride breaching of minefields and complex obstacles.
With crew protection and high vehicle survivability the ABV still has the speed and mobility to keep pace with the maneuver force. It represents a big change in lane and obstacle clearing.
“We don’t have to dismount to mark lanes. We are self-sufficient now,” said Pfc. Wesley Just, of C Company.
“Pulling a trailer with explosives and waiting on other squads to breach was time consuming. Now we can pull up, clear, mark and proof a lane with a smaller crew, much quicker.”
On-board components of the ABV include a full-width mine plow, two linear demolition charges, a lane-marking system, a remote control system and weapon station, all integrated on a modified M1A1 tank chassis.
With all of these tools available to operators, the ABV is able clear a lane of sufficient width and depth for the assault forces.