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Soldiers Play With Spiders
by U.S. Army SSgt. Bernhard Lashleyleidner - August ,31 2015

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FORT RILEY, Kan. – Soldiers assigned to Company A, 1st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, participated in training with the M7 Spider Networked Munition System July 31, 2015 at Range 7.

The Spider is an anti-personnel networked munitions system that can be securely commanded and controlled from up to 1,500 meters away. The new landmine requires human interaction to arm the system.

Michael Fol, (left), a civilian training instructor with the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, instructs Soldiers of the 1st Bde. Eng. Bn., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., on how to properly setup and arm the M-7 Spider Landmine July 31, 2015 at Range 7 on Fort Riley, Kan. Fol said the system was much better than the old anti-personnel systems because the Soldier could choose when to engage and what kind of munitions, lethal or non-lethal to use, which minimizes civilian casualties. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
Michael Fol, (left), a civilian training instructor with the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, instructs Soldiers of the 1st Bde. Eng. Bn., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., on how to properly setup and arm the M-7 Spider Landmine July 31, 2015 at Range 7 on Fort Riley, Kan. Fol said the system was much better than the old anti-personnel systems because the Soldier could choose when to engage and what kind of munitions, lethal or non-lethal to use, which minimizes civilian casualties. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)

“The Spider replaces anti-personnel landmines ... it's a smart system, a ‘Man-in-the-Loop' anti-personnel munitions system,” said Mike Fol, a civilian training instructor with the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. “Here, you can discriminate and choose who you want to engage with lethal or non-lethal effects.”

Fol, a native of Bloomsbury, New Jersey, said the system was much better than the old anti-personnel mine systems because it could only be detonated by the originator.

“Old landmines would be victim-activated, it didn't matter if a friendly, a non-combatant or the enemy stepped on it – it's going to blow up,” Fol said.

Fol said because a Soldier was always in control of the choice to launch or disarm a tripped device, the Soldier could choose when to engage and what kind of munitions, lethal or non-lethal to use. That minimizes civilian casualties.

“With the Spider, we can add M18A1 Claymore mines to provide a final protective line of fire for the defense since it has a 60-degree fan of fire,” Fol said.

The training was conducted at Fort Riley in nine days and divided into two phases. The first phase consisted of the issuing of equipment and classroom instruction and the second phase consisted of hands-on training and a live-fire event.

“It is the first time Fort Riley has detonated this system out here,” said 1st Lt. Lewis Hunsberger, a platoon leader with Co. A, 1st Bde. Eng. Bn., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. “It is always great seeing new effects and capabilities added to our Army.”

Hunsberger said the “Diehard” battalion engineers were chosen to participate in the training because Companies A and B received the first shipment of Spiders this month.

“The training was pretty cool,” said Pvt. Michael Benet, a combat engineer with Company A, 1st Bde. Eng. Bn., 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. “It's another tool for us to use and a great alternative to using landmines.”

Benet, a native of Chickasha, Oklahoma, said the spider was very user friendly.

Hunsberger, a native of Pittsburgh, said the purpose of the Spider range was to train and demonstrate the capabilities of the munitions control unit.

“Understanding the limitations of this system will allow 1st Engineer Battalion units to better integrate this added capability into their planning process,” Hunsberger said.

By U.S. Army SSgt. Bernhard Lashleyleidner
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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