The USMC M1ABV Assault Breacher Vehicle costs $3.7 million, weights in at 62 tonne and is a converted M1A1AIM tank. It retains a turret, however a new one was developed where the main gun has been removed and the rear of the turret is converted into a raised structure which houses the two MICLIC launchers which each contain about 1,750 pounds of C4 explosives. When launched across a minefield the C4 is detonated to destroy land mines and clearing a path. The vehicle then drives along this and lay’s stakes in the ground to mark the cleared path.
Various equipment can be fitted on the front of the hull such as a plough or bulldozer blade to dig up roadside bombs and breach obstacles.
The US Marine Corps is purchasing 52 of the vehicles and its understood that the Army is also getting 187.
The Marine Corps sent five of the vehicles to Afghanistan in September 2010 (they are also are operating their M1A1 tanks there too). In early December, the vehicles played a pivotal role in operations in northern Helmand province, where it withstood IED attacks.
ERA panels are fitted across the turret front and a remote weapons station is mounted on the commander’s cupola. There is also a bank of grenade launchers fitted to each side of the superstructure to cover the frontal arc.