Twentynine Palms -- Throughout the past two centuries the Marine Corps has earned its reputation as the Nation’s premier force in readiness. To maintain the stature forged in battle, the Corps must be able to deploy Marines in any clime and place at a moment’s notice. Through rigorous training evolutions that test the adaptability and readiness of America’s elite, the Corps ensures that they are always ready.
Marine Corps System Command provided Marines with invaluable training during the new equipment training on the MK154 Mod 1 at Range 114 aboard the Combat Center, Oct. 26, 2017. The training marked the first time since 2013 a unit has employed the MK154.
“Today we are conducting new equipment training on the Mod 1, which is the updated version of the original, MK154 Mod 0,” said Capt. Tony Molnar, Mark-154 and Mark-155 project officer, MCSC. “This breaching asset has not been employed since 2013 and now we are testing it with a safer electrical system and more reliable hydraulic system that provides the Corps with an amphibious breaching capability once again.”
The first section to receive major upgrades was the electrical system. It became safer by utilizing an internal back-up power source throughout the electric system. A testing system was also installed to test the electrical capabilities before the ordnance was loaded. The second set of upgraded equipment was the hydraulic system. It was upgraded to a more effective self-bleeding system which leads to a reduction in maintenance time. The Corps is also accessing commercial off-the-shelf items with an added winch for loading Mine Clearing Loading Charges.
Marines from 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion took the lead on the training, with Marines from 2nd Assault Amphibious Battalion, Exercise Support Division and 1st Combat Engineer Battalion assisting in the exercises.
One of the Corps’ responsibilities is to provide amphibious forces with the tools needed to operate successfully. Unlike current breaching weapons systems, the MK154 will allow an amphibious breach lane that provides maneuverability for assault forces as they push forward to provide fire and maneuver on enemy defended beaches that are manned with explosives.
Col. Dan Yaroslaski, commanding officer, Assault Amphibious School, Camp Pendleton, Calif., came to observe the MK154 Mod 1 system being utilized.
“What we’re going to see today is six shots from the system,” Yaroslaski said. “Because mines are accessible and cheap it is easy for an adversary to think that they’ve deterred U.S. forces from making a landing on the beaches. This weapon system enables amphibious forces to operate at their full capacity.”
MICLICs are also employed in the Assault Breacher Vehicle and from the MK155, trailer variant. With the updated system, the Marine Corps is afforded more options when it comes to executing amphibious assault breaching. The line charge kit itself uses approximately 1,750 pounds of C-4 explosives to clear breach lanes of mines and other obstacles, man-made or natural.
“Today is significant because it is just one more example of how the Marine Corps is attempting to stay up-to-date with technology,” Yaroslaski said. “Four years ago, there was an incident with the line charge kit that sadly took the lives of two Marines. Through redesigning portions of it, upgrading the safeties and initiating other safety mechanisms we have regained a safe piece of equipment that we can hopefully return to the fleet.”