The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) has carried out the user demonstration of the scalable / selectable breacher (SSB) at Fort Polk in Louisiana, US.

Jointly developed with the Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), the SSB is designed to provide the dismounted soldier with mission flexibility via a single system that can successfully breach a wide range of urban walls.

ERDC research mechanical engineer and SSB design team member Jeff Averett said the SSB is a lightweight, compact and portable package, designed to be carried by soldiers and employed when necessary.

"It uses standard explosive materials that are readily available to the warfighter, and the primary objective is to create a man-sized hole in a wide range of military operations in urban terrain wall targets using a man-portable system that minimises time on target," Averett said.

"Previous wall breaching systems utilised a single warhead design for multiple walls, which resulted in overmatch in some cases and failure to breach in others."

"The SSB is a lightweight, compact and portable package, designed to be carried by soldiers and employed when necessary."

The demonstration, which is part of a science and technology programme supported by the ARDEC Office of the Director of Technology, served as an introduction for the current SSB prototype design, and included assembly, wall application and breaching capabilities.

The breacher successfully defeated concrete masonry units, triple layer bricks and double reinforced concrete walls with a single shot, and the operational test data is expected to serve as a valuable step forward.

Averett said that the demonstration was aimed at highlighting the system’s simplicity and effectiveness.

"Everyone was able to witness firsthand the ease of assembly and installation, and see the results on typical wall designs that might be encountered by the warfighter; they even had the opportunity to walk through the wall openings," Averett added.

Having completed successful testing against adobe and double-thick adobe walls, the SSB is easy to set-up and assemble and ensures successful passage through the wall with minimal collateral damage.

Image: The scalable / selectable breacher capabilities being demonstrated at Fort Polk, Louisiana, US. Photo: courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers.

Defence Technology