A US-made M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) was spotted in a ceremony attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to celebrate the Day of Missile Forces and Artillery and Engineering Troops.
The transfer of this military vehicle, which is present only in small numbers with the US Army, was never made public. The visual confirmation means that after the United States, Ukraine has become only the second operator of the M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV).
The US-made M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), which resembles a hybrid between a tank and a harvesting machine, will give Ukrainian troops vital powers to assist them in removing the hundreds of miles of dense minefields the Russians have erected.
It is unclear how it made its way to Ukraine. The list of supplies the Pentagon sent to Ukraine contains no M1150s. It probably belongs in the vague category of “mine clearing equipment” that the Biden Administration sent Ukraine, along with about US$45 billion in security aid.
There have been multiple instances of weapon systems making an appearance in Ukraine despite no official announcement being made regarding their transfer.
Since no official announcement was made, it is hard to gauge when it was delivered. However, it may have arrived in Ukraine along with the 31 M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) handed over to Kyiv’s forces in mid-October.
Neither the Abrams tanks nor the Assault Breacher Vehicle, based on the Abrams, have been deployed on the battlefield by Ukraine.
To maximize their impact on Russian forces, Ukrainian troops carefully plan when and where to use their tanks. They are also taking the appropriate precautions to guarantee that they have all the required support elements in place.
However, Russian commanders are already awaiting the deployment of Abrams so they can meet the same fate as the Leopard-2s, some of which have been destroyed by Russia.
A decorated Russian tank battalion commander holding the Order of Courage and the Medal for Courage, Captain Sambu Khutakov, said recently that Russian tank crews stationed near Rabotino were actively preparing for a hunt to encounter American Abrams tanks.
The transfer of M1150 ABV to Ukraine is significant. The US Marines started selling off their M1150s under the previous commandant as part of a general shift away from armor and “larger, legacy systems.”
So, while the Marines no longer want the M1150s, these will be instrumental in Ukraine, where heavy minefields have largely slowed down the counteroffensive.
The appearance of M1150 is also notable as it comes days after the commander in chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhny, said that Western supplies of mine-clearing equipment were “insufficient” to run over Russia’s formidable minefields.
“Even Western supplies, such as Norwegian mine-clearing tanks and rocket-powered mine-clearing devices, have proved insufficient given the scale of Russian minefields, which stretch back 20km (12 miles) in places,” Zaluzhny wrote. “When we breach minefields, Russia quickly replenishes them by firing new mines from a distance.”
Ukraine launched its much-anticipated counteroffensive in June this year to drive Russian forces out of east and south Ukraine. However, as it came across Russian forces buried deep within well-defended positions shielded by miles of minefields, Ukraine’s military could not make any significant progress.
Earlier this year, Ukrainian military sources went so far as to say that Western-supplied demining equipment is sluggish, noisy, and readily destroyable by Russian forces. This makes the delivery of M1150 Assault Breaching Vehicles a welcome significant transfer of armament by the United States.
M1150 Assault Breaching Vehicles
The M1150 ABV is a “highly mobile and heavily armored minefield and complex obstacle breaching system,” according to the US Army.
The US Marine Corps’ operating objectives were considered when developing the M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV). This combat engineering vehicle’s unique purpose was to clear minefields so other armored and military vehicles could drive through safely.
The M1150 ABV essentially makes it possible for attack units to get past barriers quickly before the adversary builds up their defenses. The vehicle proved its mettle in Afghanistan in 2009.
The M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle is based on a modified M1A1 Abrams main battle tank chassis. It is important to note that the ABV is equipped with reconditioned Abrams MBT chassis obtained from surplus Army inventory. The turret of the M1A1 has been removed and replaced by a new superstructure.
This military engineering vehicle has been developed with various established sub-systems to reduce development time and expense. Several specifically built engineering accessories for this vehicle were provided by Pearson Engineering, based in the United Kingdom.
These comprise battle dozer blades, lane marking systems, full-width and surface mine plows, and quick ordnance removal devices. Depending on the job’s requirements, this equipment can be quickly installed or uninstalled.
Its components include a unique turret equipped with two Linear Demolition Charge Systems (using two Mine Clearing Line Charges [MICLIC] and rockets), an Integrated Vision System, a Lane Marking System [LMS], and a High Lift Adapter that can be used to mount a Combat Dozer Blade or a Full Width Mine Plow [FWMP] in a swappable manner.
The Breacher has two mine-clearing line charge launchers installed on the back of the superstructure. These are rockets that carry explosives that can explode mines, bombs, or IEDs at a safe distance by traveling up to 100–150 meters ahead. It creates armored vehicles and personnel safety lanes in minefields in this fashion.
The commander and driver make up the two-person team that operates the assault breaker vehicle. It can be operated remotely without the staff using the remote control feature.
The vehicle commander controls the 12.7 mm machine gun installed in the cupola of this military engineering vehicle. It can be used alongside the Abrams by Ukraine for double trouble.
The US service says that “the ABV provides crew protection and vehicle survivability while having the speed and mobility to keep pace with the maneuver force. Commonality of support (M1A1) is also a significant benefit to the Soldier.
Thus, it would be suitable for another ground offensive if Ukraine embarks on one after the failed counteroffensive of summer. As Russia braces for another round of ground offensive against Ukraine, any additional mine breaching equipment is likely to come in handy.
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