News: 2-1 STB Test Spider Munition
Story by Spc. Sinthia Rosario
Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Special Troops Battalion, Company C participated in the testing of the XM-7 Spider Networked Munition System during the Network Integration Evaluation at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., June 14.
“The Spider system is a replacement for the persistent anti-personnel landmine, which by our presidential policy we have stopped using as of Dec. 31 of this past year,” said Paul W. Kelly, maneuver support with BRTRC. “The system consists of a laptop connected to a radio connected to an antenna that controls the field of Munition Control Unit. The test itself is focused on employing the Spider munition field multiple times and what we’re really after is the ability of MCU to be employed seven times.”
These tests can change the way soldiers operate in the battlefield.
“We’re at the Limited User Test 2 as part of the Network Integration Event right now,” said Bob Rush, support contractor with BRTRC. “Because we need to reestablish the capabilities of our systems specifically in the soldiers ability to put in a field and take it out without loosing our assets and that has been a problem in past testing.”
“The program has put various features into place, software wise to help the soldier maintain the system,” he added.
The old anti-personnel landmine was primarily emplaced in locations where the military wanted to deny the enemy use of the terrain, but it also denied our soldiers that terrain too, said Kelly.
Once the landmine was placed, the terrain remained impassible to both friendly and enemy forces. With this Spider the soldiers can place the spider munition, they can control the munitions from the laptop or RCU, walk around the terrain to check the spiders anytime and also uninstall the munition.
With this new system they can put out a field that used to take a platoon approximately 12 hours to emplace, now they can have that same size field and have greater effects not just the anti-personnel lethal effects, but they can also have non-lethal and sensors in the same size field and a squad can deploy it in two hours time. Making the emplacement quicker.
Sgt Steven A. Velez, combat engineer with Company C, 2-1 STB, said it’s going to be easier for them to setup the field.
There’s going to be a big change, once they go to Afghanistan and Iraq and set up the field it will be easier for them to keep the enemy away from them, he stated.
“We have to have some type of replacement because we have a gap,” said Rush. “If we don’t have something to help the soldiers with force protection then you put the soldiers in jeopardy.”
“You put mission at jeopardy,” he said. “They have to rely on other systems to conduct the fight and Spiders are a great supplement to help support that fight.”