Army combat engineers are looking for new ways to deploy “terrain-forming obstacles” or land mines by artillery, drones, or robotic ground vehicles for close, medium and long-range combat.
Lieutenant General Scott A. Spelmon, chief engineer and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in his presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the U.S. Army Association that the regiment does not. 1 The priority of the update is terrain formation.
Better flight platforms, networks, and ground vehicles offer new breadth and depth to warfare, but shaping the terrain deprives the enemy of the ability to effectively use their own systems and puts control of the tempo of the battlefield in the hands of soldiers.
Colonel Kyle T. Moulton, Assistant Commandant of the School of Engineering, said that due to lack of use over the past 20 years, many of the current systems for laying mines and other obstructions are nearing obsolescence.
Two such examples are the 1980s-era volcanic scattered mine system, which contains anti-personnel, anti-tank and GATOR barrel munitions, often a combination of 72 anti-tank and 22 anti-personnel mines.
Volcano allows the UH-60 Black Hawk to create a 1,000-foot minefield in less than a minute. These items get service life extension money to serve as a chip for the following devices.
The following devices are the Standoff Activated Volcano System and the Combined Anti-Vehicle Munition.
Both are intended to be more portable, have more delivery method options, use cross-platform munitions and have self-reporting features with ways to perform remote self-disruption and self-destruction.
Moulton also said that munitions should be recoverable and reusable.
The overall goal is to combine a number of devices and methods to create a complex networked obstacle system.
Colonel Russell V.
Huff said that major offensive munitions are due to begin prototypes next year through early 2024, with rapid dispatch scheduled to begin in 2025.
Huff added that lower-assault munitions are headed for prototypes in 2025 and a rapid introduction into the field in 2028.
Full network capability is expected to build a prototype in late 2026 and field start in 2029.
But, Hof said, it’s not always a kinetic effect. Some of the ammunition options they are looking to use to shape the terrain will include electronic warfare capabilities.
In September, the Army Times reported on a suitcase-sized solution for dismounted soldiers to carry tanks.
Soldiers and researchers tested the XM204 large-scale temporary assault munition at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in September.
The U.S. Army in Europe has begun to advocate for this type of option, Lt. Col. Isaac Cuthbertson, Product Manager for Terrain Forming Barriers, said in an earlier Army press release.
The XM204 is an advanced version of the previous XM1100 Scorpion system, which was specifically designed to target and deter tanks or other tracked vehicles.
In 2019, the Army Times reported the Army’s initial push into a “dumb landmine” modernization area with a “smart terrain formation”.
At the time, some of those plans included plans for devices to jam their own radio frequency signals, helping to prevent adversaries from using radio frequencies to locate or detonate communications-enabled devices.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government, and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a joint project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.