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M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle

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The M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) 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.

M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle
M1 assault breacher vehicles, assigned to the U.S. Marines with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, wait prior to the beginning of Operation Black Sand in Shukvani, Helmand, Afghanistan, Aug 110804-M-VI276-010.jpg
M1150 assault breacher vehicles, assigned to the U.S. Marines with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion.
TypeMilitary Engineering Vehicle
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service2010–present
Used byUnited States Army, United States Marine Corps
WarsWar in Afghanistan
Production history
No. built39
Length40 feet (12 meters)



Design and purposeEdit

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, 40 foot (15 m) long vehicles are based on the M1 Abrams with a 1,500 horsepower engine, but fitted with a .50 cal machine gun and a front-mounted 15-foot (4.5 m) wide plow, supported by metallic skis that glide on the dirt and armed with nearly 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) 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, so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely.[1]

In the 1990s, the U.S. Army decided it could not afford to continue developing complicated, maintenance-heavy vehicles for this purpose. The Grizzly program was canceled in 2001, and the prototype developed never made it to the production lines. The Marine Corps however persisted and funded its own development and testing. The main body of the final model of the ABV is built on the General Dynamics chassis that is used for the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank. Pearson Engineering of the UK provided the specially designed plow and the other mine-clearing accessories.[2][3][4]

Combat useEdit

Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion launch a line charge from an Assault Breacher Vehicle.

In the morning of December 3, 2009, for the first time breachers were used in combat, when Marines pushed into the Taliban stronghold Now Zad during Operation Cobra's Anger in Helmand province, on their way to another Taliban stronghold Marjah, 380 miles (610 kilometers) southwest of Kabul, that was to be assaulted in February 2010.[5][6][7][8][9]

On February 11, 2010, two breachers fired explosive line charges in the desert outside Sistani, to test Taliban defenses on the eve of Operation Moshtarak when closing off the enemy's escape route.[10][11][12][13][14]

On February 13, 2010, on the first day of the operation, breachers of the US Marines 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion succeeded in digging and blasting "safety lanes" through the numerous minefields laid by the Taliban around Marjah.[15][16]

According to a report in December 2009, there were then five ABVs in Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines were said to have plans to field a total of 52 by 2012, of which about 34 have already had been produced. The U.S. Army was said to have ordered 187.[17]

By August 2013, six Assault Breacher Vehicles were brought to the Korean Peninsula. They are used by the 2nd Infantry Division to provide the capability for deliberate and in-stride breaching of mine fields and complex obstacles. The ABVs would allow the 2ID to clear the heavily mined Korean Demilitarized Zone, believed to contain tens of thousands to millions of mines. A previous deployment of MRAP mine-resistant vehicles to Korea caused North Korea to accuse their presence as vehicles that would cross the DMZ for an attack of the country; the MRAPs were later withdrawn due to their unsuitability for the terrain. North Korea did not respond to the ABV's arrival to the peninsula.[18][19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Marines push 'The Breacher' against Taliban lines", Washington Post
  2. ^ "Marines roll out Assault Breacher Vehicles for Marjah Afghanistan offensive - When Marines rumble into the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in Helmand province for one of the largest offensives of the Afghanistan war, they'll be battle-testing a powerful new weapon, the Assault Breacher Vehicle", Christian Science Monitor
  3. ^ "US Marines push their ultimate mine clearance weapon, 'The Breacher,' against Taliban lines"[permanent dead link], San Francisco Examiner
  4. ^ "MV-22 and ABV Meet Expectations",
  5. ^ ""Marine assault - Operation Cobra's Anger"
  6. ^ "Marines Blast Through Now Zad With Assault Breacher Vehicles" Archived February 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Monster mine-clearing tank goes to work in Afghanistan" Archived December 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Combat Camera: US Marines Take Now Zad During Operation Cobra's Anger, Part 1"
  9. ^ "United States Marines Corps deployed for the time in Afghanistan the new engineer armoured ABV Assault Breacher Vehicle"
  10. ^ "Taliban escape route sealed before attack"
  11. ^ "US and Afghan troops ring Taliban stronghold"[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Marines test Taliban defenses before Afghan attack"
  13. ^ "Two U.S. Marine Assault Breacher Vehicles (ABV), test-fire explosive line charges in the desert outside Sistani"[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "U.S. and Afghan forces surround 1,000 Taliban as they poise to launch Operation Moshtarak"
  15. ^ "Marine assault vehicles key to Afghan strategy - As U.S. and Afghan troops prepare for an offensive in Helmand province, the Assault Breacher Vehicle - a cross between a tank and a bulldozer - is intended to conquer the terrain and roadside bombs"
  16. ^ "Taliban leaders flee as marines hit stronghold"
  17. ^ "New Marine Tech Slams into Helmand"
  18. ^ MRAP No Good for Korea, 2ID Decides -, 16 August 2013
  19. ^ The ABV Assault Breacher Vehicle is deployed by U.S. Army in South Korea –, 20 August 2013

External linksEdit