Mine-clearing system test at YPG a success

By James Gilbert @YSJAMESGILBERT | Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 9:19 pm

MICLIC launch

An M58 Mine-Clearing Lineal Detonation Charge, known simply as MICLIC, is launched through the air Wednesday at the Yuma Proving Grounds. The 1,800 pounds of C-4 were dragged through the air by the rocket and strung out across the ground for detonation.

YUMA PROVING GROUND — When ground troops encounter threats such as landmines, roadside bombs, booby traps and improvised explosive devices, a M58 Mine-Clearing Line Charge system is often used to clear a path and allow them to move into the area safely.

Simply known as a MICLIC, the mine clearing system is used by combat engineers in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to provide a passageway through minefields and other areas suspected to have hazards, or be occupied by enemy forces.

Produced at the Iowa Army Ammunition plant, a lot acceptance test was successfully conducted by engineers and other testers with Trax’s munition and weapons division Wednesday morning out on Yuma Proving Ground’s Kofa Firing Range.

Tim Healy, branch chief of demolition for Project Manager Close Combat System (PMCCS), explained that before each mine-clearing system can be purchased by the government a lot acceptance test is required.

Healy went on to say that as the MICLICs are being produced a sample is pulled from each lot and brought to YPG for testing. If the sample performs as expected the government then assumes the entire lot is good and accepts it.

Mounted on a trailer, the MICLIC is a 300-foot long one-inch nylon cord laced with five-pound bricks of C-4 explosives every six inches, which is then fired to its full extent from a rocket and detonated. Wednesday’s test used 1,800 pounds of explosives.

Robert Archiable, a test officer with Trax’s munition and weapons division, said when fired, the rocket pulls the entire explosive-laden cord from its packaging tub to its full length of 100 meters out into a minefield or other hazardous area, and another 60 meters of slack, to put distance between the explosion and the vehicle launching the MICLIC.

While Wednesday’s test was remotely detonated by a Trax member in a nearby MRAP, usually when the cord reaches the end of its length it arms the explosives, which can then be detonated by a someone within the vehicle that launched the charge.

The blast, which detonates all explosives within its blast radius, completely clears a 100-meter long route that is roughly 10 feet wide.

“What the explosion does is creates a huge amount of overpressure that pushes down on the ground, so any land mines that opposing forces may have placed will detonate,” Archiable said. “Once they’ve detonated in the ground you would follow with mechanical breaching assets, like a mine plow or rake or rollers to proof the lanes. It’s then safe for your military forces to move through the area.”

Archiable said if the minefield being breached is longer than 100 meters, soldiers or Marines would just keep firing off line charges and proofing the area as they went until they were completely through it.

The system can be launched from several vehicles, including the Assault Breacher Vehicle and the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, or towed into position by a trailer.  It will also function in all types of soil and on marshy grounds, rocky ground and sand, as well as on a floor of running water.

Archiable added that Trax has multiple lot acceptance tests to conduct throughout the remainder of the year and into next year before the program ends.