M160 MV4 vehicle

US Army soldiers have conducted operational training of the M160 MV4 DOK-ING mine clearance and firefighting vehicle at McGregor Range in New Mexico and Fort Bliss in Texas, US, prior to deployment in Afghanistan.

The two-day route clearance mission training was attended by soldiers from First Army Division West 5th Armored Brigade’s Task Force Rampant, along with the 321st Engineer Company (Route Clearance), 704th Engineer Company (Route Clearance) and the 402nd Engineer Company (Sapper).

Task Force Rampant commander lieutenant colonel Aaron Dorf said: "Having this equipment available to train our reserve-component forces during their premobilizstion training will allow these units to arrive in their forward-deployed theatres with a unique and critical skill set."

The first day of training familiarised participants with the vehicle’s internal and external components, in addition to providing training on fuel system and instruction on preventive maintenance checks (PMCS) and services, as well as appropriate methods for inspection of track area, engine compartment and its attachments.

PMCS training was followed by educating soldiers in system programming and basic driving, which required participants to operate the vehicle in forward and reverse modes, and also negotiate left and right turns in a controlled environment.

"Without formal training on the care of equipment, it is very likely the equipment will not be available and ready when required."

Task Force Rampant senior mechanic master sergeant Warner Stadler said the PMCS training and testing of the equipment was as important as operating it.

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"Without formal training on the care of equipment, it is very likely the equipment will not be available and ready when required," Stadler added.

The training culminated with instruction on flailing block, where soldiers learned to effectively use the vehicle for detection of obstacles on a 3,100m test lane that simulated the unclear road.

The M160 MV4 is a remote-controlled, tracked vehicle currently used to safeguard dismounted troops against hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and landmines in Afghanistan.

Image: US Army soldiers receiving instruction on the M160 MV4 remotely-controlled mine clearance vehicle at McGregor Range in New Mexico, US. Photo: courtesy of captain Jose A Lopez.