Poland is asking the US for 25 M1150 ABVs based on the Abrams

The Polish Ministry of Defence’s Armaments Agency has recently disclosed its negotiations with the United States. The dialogue is centered on acquiring 25 M1150 ABV Armored Engineering Vehicles, modeled on the M1 Abrams tank chassis, for Poland’s military. Further discussions are also underway about the potential procurement of an unspecified number of M88A2 Hercules Armored Repair and Evacuation Vehicles.

Poland is asking the US for 25 M1150 ABVs based on the Abrams
Photo credit: Telegram

The M1150 ABV, an innovative solution for cutting through mine barriers, taps into the power of dual systems for enhanced performance. This machinery combines a traditional plow system with a trigger mechanism for line charges, based on the M58 MICLIC system design. This potent blend enables the M1150 ABV to blast through minefields of approximately 100-150 meters in a single go. 

Unlike the M58 MICLIC, which relies solely on charges and the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, the M1150 ABV diversifies its utility. Of particular note, the ABV boasts increased levels of protection, transforming it from just a clearing machine into a formidable assault tank. This feature amplifies its effectiveness when it comes to dismantling entrenched enemy positions.

Ukraine uses a very rare assault Abrams hybrid - the M1150 ABV
Video screenshot

Limited quantity

Insights from the Military Balance reveal that there is a noticeable scarcity of M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles [ABVs] in the U.S. Army, boasting a mere total of 149 units. Interestingly, this figure comes up short when compared to an original acquisition request of 187 units, aimed specifically for usage in Afghanistan’s ground force operations. 

The U.S. Army has access to a relatively small collection of M1150 ABVs in the present day, ranging from approximately 30 to 50 units. This fleet was initially deployed by the U.S. Marine Corps, who decided to discontinue tank usage in favor of strategic reasons. 

Ukraine uses a very rare assault Abrams hybrid - the M1150 ABV
Photo credit: Twitter

About M1150 ABV

The M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle [ABV] is a distinct piece of military equipment, designed primarily to clear explosives and mines. It is primarily built on the robust M1 Abrams chassis and employs a mine plow and line charges for operational efficiency. 

In a key deployment, the U.S. Marine Corps [USMC] utilized this vehicle with great success during the 2010 Operation Moshtarak. This initiative was an integral part of the War in Afghanistan, partnering the International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] with Afghan forces to counteract the rampant Taliban insurgency in Southern Afghanistan.

Design

These battle-ready vehicles, outfitted with state-of-the-art tracking technology, serve a crucial purpose: they clear safe avenues for the movement of troops and other mechanized units, neutralizing dangers posed by minefields, roadside bombs, and improvised explosive devices. 

These massive machines, tipping the scales at 72 tons and stretching to a length of 40 feet [12 m], are fundamentally a modification of the tried-and-tested M1 Abrams, powered by a formidable 1,500 horsepower engine. Still, their arsenal is constrained to a .50 caliber machine gun. What sets them apart is the formidable, 15-foot-wide [4.6 m] plow affixed at the front, bolstered by metallic skis for smoother soil navigation and loaded with a hefty 7,000 pounds [3,200 kg] of explosive ordinance. 

One standout feature of these vehicles is the advanced Linear Demolition Charge System [LDCS], capable of launching rockets laden with C-4 explosive charges. These rockets are propelled forward to a distance spanning 100-150 yards, triggering hidden explosive threats safely, which in turn carves out a secure passage for the safe advancement of troops and machines.

Funded by the Marine Corps 

The U.S. Army, in the 1990s, grappled with the handicaps of intricate and highly maintenance-intensive vehicles, leading to the premature closure of the Grizzly program in 2001 and halting the progression of the prototype to production phases. 

On the flip side, the Marine Corps acknowledged the promising potential these vehicles hold and sustained their endeavors in the arena, instigating standalone development and trial phases. A General Dynamics chassis, mirroring the design used in the M1A1 Abrams primary combat tank, forms the backbone of the final ABV model. 

The unique plow and mine-clearing mechanisms were supplied by Pearson Engineering, a company headquartered in the United Kingdom. 

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