The U.S. Army Reserve has fielded the first two M1271 Medium Flail Mine Clearing Vehicles, or MCV, with the 364th Engineer Platoon, located at Fort Smith, Arkansas. The MCV is a manned vehicle designed to clear paths through minefields and provides area clearance using a motorized flail system to detonate mines in a safe manner.

The MCV is equipped with a rotating flail and 72 chains with fist-sized balls, or hammers, at the end of the chains. As the vehicle drives backwards over the designated area, the flail rotates and the chains dig into the ground tearing mines apart or detonating them. The driver is protected by a deflector shield of armored steel, protecting both the driver and vehicle against blast pressure and mine fragments.

“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. Some of the other military forces serving there had this equipment, but our own military did not.

“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.”

USARC continues to coordinate the field and training of the 11 remaining Army Reserve engineer platoons that will receive two MCVs per unit.

Carroll said, the Army Reserve will field 12 out of 15 units, giving the Army Reserve 80 percent of all MCV capabilities for the entire Army for FY 2014.

This technology is not new. In World War II, many tanks and other armored vehicles were outfitted with a similar flail system.