On December 3, 2009, the Marine Corps’ newest vehicle detonated its first path-clearing line charge in Afghanistan. This happy occasion would mark the Assault Breacher Vehicle’s (ABV) first combat action and introduce a new method for combating Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Built on the chassis of a M1A1 Abrams Tank, the tracked ABV is equipped with a mine-clearing plow, a .50 cal machine gun and a device that fires a rocket-propelled line of C4 explosives up to 150 yards. Assault Breacher Vehicles ensure Marines can get to the battlefield without going through a minefield.
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. 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.
- Honeywell – 1,500 Horsepower tank engine
- Armed with the M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC)
- Carries approximately 7,000 pounds of C4 explosives
- Line charges clear an area 14 meters wide
- Weighs 72 tons and has a length of 40 feet
- Titanium-plated undercarriage
- Can be driven remotely