The vehicle will give Ukraine one more way to clear vast minefields created by Russia.

During a ceremony to celebrate the Day of Missile Forces and Artillery and Engineering Troops, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had the opportunity to observe a very unusual-looking armored vehicle.

The American-made M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV), which looks like a cross between a tank and a combine harvester, will provide critical capabilities to help Ukrainian troops clear the hundreds of kilometers of dense minefields laid by the Russians.

The US Army describes the M1150 ABV as a “highly mobile and heavily armored minefield and complex obstacle clearance system.” It consists of an M1A1 Abrams tank hull; a single turret with two linear demolition charge systems (employing two mine clearance line charges [MICLIC] and rockets); a lane marking system [LMS]; an integrated vision system; and a high-lift adapter that mounts either a full-width mine plow [FWMP] or a combat dozer blade.”

It is not clear how he arrived in Ukraine. The list of items the Pentagon has provided to Ukraine does not specifically mention any M1150. It likely falls into the nebulous category of “mine clearance teams” included among the nearly $45 billion in security aid provided to Ukraine by the Biden Administration.

The United States has sent to Ukraine the first batch of what will be 31 Abrams main battle tanks, of which this one is a derivative.

The Marines, under their former commander, began shedding their M1150s as part of a general move away from armor and “larger, legacy systems.”

The M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles (ABV) are being divested from the Marine Corps in an effort to accelerate modernization and realign the capabilities of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion (1st CEB).”

Although the Marines no longer want them, the M1150s will be very useful in Ukraine, where massive minefields have largely bogged down their counteroffensive.

Howard Altman