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Python Minefield Breaching System

The Python Minefield Breaching System is used by the British Army to clear minefields. It replaces the Giant Viper, and has the ability to clear a safe lane in minefields 180–200m long and 7.3 m wide through which vehicles can pass.

A Chieftain AVRE carrying fascines and towing Python on Salisbury Plain. The AVRE is fitted with a Mine Plough used when time permits to safely move out of the way any mines missed by Python

The system works by firing a single rocket from a launcher mounted on a 136 kilogramme trailer which has to be towed to the edge of the mined area. Attached to the rocket motor 250 mm L9 53 kg is a 228 m long hose packed with 1455 kg of pe6/al explosive. After the hose lands on the ground it detonates and destroys over 90% of mines along its entire length. The 10% that are not destroyed are simply pushed aside to safety. It can be used in tandem to defeat double impulse mines or mines of greater depth. It also contains a 9 kg high explosive substitute at the end with a .9 kg booster of pe4.[1]

Python has been used operationally with the Trojan AVRE in Afghanistan.[2] During Operation Moshtarak the Royal Engineers attempted to use this traditional mine clearance equipment in the Counter-IED role in support of a major British Army advance.[3]

  1. ^ "Python Minefield Breaching System". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  2. ^ Royal Engineers blast through Taliban IED field with new weapon, UK: MoD.
  3. ^ Trojan used for IED clearance, UK: BBC, 19 February 2010.