by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) Oct 7, 2014
The U.S. Army Reserve is fielding mine clearance vehicles that use a motorized flail system to safely detonate land mines.
The vehicles are the M1271 Medium Flail Mine Clearing Vehicles, and they are being given to a dozen Army Reserve engineering units.
"At the end of the day, it is saving soldiers lives," said Daniel Carroll, a systems integrator for engineering equipment, U.S. Army Reserve Command G-4. "It's a capability that wasn't needed before Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We've always had the area clearance capability, but with the flail, it lets us do it more efficiently -- in less time and a safer manner."
The flail system is not new. Indeed it dates to World War II, when tanks and other vehicles were outfitted with flail systems.
The system used on the M1271 consists of 72 chains with fist-sized balls, or hammers, at the end of the chains. As the vehicle drives backwards over an area, the flail rotates and the chains dig into the ground tearing mines apart or detonating them.
A steel deflector shield protects the M1271 and its driver from blast pressure and mine fragments.
The Army reserve said the first two vehicles have been given to a unit in Arkansas.
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