THE ARMY’S NEW ASSAULT BREACHER VEHICLE WILL DECREASE SOLDIER CASUALTIES
By Michael Wang
The Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) is a “fully tracked combat engineer vehicle designed to breach minefields and complex obstacles.” A prototype is currently in production, and this ABV will soon start saving lives on the battlefield and beyond.
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What Is the Assault Breacher Vehicle and Its Capabilities?Assault Breacher Vehicles, also referred to as just Breachers, are unmanned vehicles that help clear passageways through minefields, which allows safe pathways for other vehicles. Because they’re unmanned, they also provide protection for service members, as minefields are some of the greatest threats to those working in the field. These war robots help breachers move more “rapidly through obstacles, before enemy forces establish defenses.” Assault Breacher Vehicles will revolutionize the way we can move during real-life battles and situations. The proposal for these vehicles was only recently passed, and a prototype is now in development. The proposal was “awarded a contract in May  to Cybernet, a specialist in robotics and autonomous navigation, for a robotic applique that will be installed on Assault Breacher Vehicles, creating prototypes that will undergo evaluation for about 18-24 months.” Throughout Q3 2022, there were talks as to how the prototype should look and how it should function. The Army is expecting to pass through the preliminary design review for the Breachers’ prototypes in Q4 of FY 2023, “with the delivery of the first prototypes scheduled for the second quarter of fiscal 2024.” This recent advancement within the U.S. military will greatly help many military members and future troops to effectively navigate their way through enemy territory and establish their defenses in a quicker and safer way.
How Is It Helping the U.S. Army?The Assault Breacher Vehicle will help the U.S. Army tremendously, as it can improve the efficiency at which troops navigate once the war robots clear a path for them. In 2019, the Army first delved into concept development for the robotic Assault Breacher Vehicles at the Yakima Air Base in Washington State. Two of these war robots were created and controlled by a Marine Corps unit that “tackled obstacles atop a desert plateau. Both robotic vehicles were controlled from a single command vehicle.” The first of the Assault Breacher Vehicles employed a “mine-clearing line charge, creating a path for the second to fill a tank trench. The battlefield preparations paved the way for an assault force to move on an enemy location.” The data drawn from those test trials were very promising. The first Breacher took two and a half hours to complete the exercise, and the second Breacher took about 30 minutes less. These results proved that the war robots “could at least accomplish the same breach in roughly the same amount of time as a manned operation would take.” This definitely changes the game because this allows troops to be protected and move safely during battle. Going from minefield to minefield, these vehicles can protect future troops as they can navigate on dangerous grounds. Now, as more advancements come to fruition, the same number of questions and problems arise as before. After the evaluation of the Breachers, the military has to figure out a way to make them avoid enemy detection and “how to move them off the battlefield if they broke down [or] how to design a vehicle that could be considered expendable and therefore be abandoned on a battlefield if necessary.” Currently, the Breacher vehicles are capable of “keeping up with formations, and are transportable on CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters and C-130 aircraft.”
The Future Is Here, and It's the Assault Breacher Vehicle!The Assault Breacher Vehicles will revolutionize the way the United States military moves when in battle. Having the technology to track mines and prevent injuries to our troops is a huge improvement in saving lives and boosting morale. There’s still a lot of work to be done to perfect the vehicles, but we’re moving in the right direction to protect the lives of many.
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The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. Video by Spc. Hannah Hawkins 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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