The military has made no secret of the upcoming offensive toclear out a Taliban haven in Marjah, a town in southern Afghanistan's Helmandprovince. Some 10,000 Marines have arrived in the area in recent weeks to lead theassault.
Sure to be out front as the Marines push into Marjah andsurrounding areas will be a new addition to the Marine's inventory: the AssaultBreacher Vehicle (ABV), an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank with its turret removedand fitted with a dozer blade, a mine plow and two Mk 155 linear demolitioncharges.
The Mk 155 mine clearing line charge carries 1,750 pounds ofC4 that can be shot out 100 meters in front of the tank to blast a lane throughIED and mine belts. The Marines plan to buy 16 more ABVs next year to add tothe 34 they already own.
My colleague Paul McLeary, over at Aviation Week, has a great write up of Marine ABV operations over in Afghanistan. He quotes a lightcolonel who said that if any insurgents were nearby when the ABV's nearly oneton of high-explosive detonates they'd be "real gooey inside."