Armor: March 19, 2002


Operation Anaconda saw the first employment of helo-based airmechanized forces by a US field commander in combat. On 15 March, the Canadians attached to the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade/10th Mountain Division used U.S. Army CH-47D "Chinooks" to air assault the armored tracked BV-206 airmechanized vehicles of 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group into the Operation Anaconda fight. 

Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison had told a 13 March press conference that the 3PPCLI had six over-snow vehicles held in reserve during Anaconda, in case they needed to evacuate people on the ground - as opposed to using aviation assets. 

Major Chuck Jarnot, 101st Airborne Division Liaison Officer in Afghanistan, noted that the greatest risk to vehicle movement in Afghanistan is not Taliban/Al-Quedas Rocket Propelled Grenades, but rather the millions of land mines laid throughout the country. The Canadian BV-206 AMV used in Anaconda mitigates this risk by virtue of the very light weight and tracked suspension that results in extremely light ground pressure. 

This not only contributes to its excellent terrain agilit,y but makes anti-tank mine detonation a very small probability since the BV-206 ground pressure is far below the minimum necessary to set off a typical anti-tank mine.

The trend might be spreading. On the morning of the 16th, the German TV news program 'Das Journal' showed two Wiesel 20mm variants in support of Australia Special Air Service Regiment troops. - Adam Geibel


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