The U.S. Marine Corps is developing a prototype of a one-time robot aimed at clearing mines from the beach’s broken-wave belt. The robot, called the Creepy Remote Control Land and Land BreakthroughR (CRAB), can use mines, farm machines, tweezers to detonate and clear explosives, and clear underwater obstacles by remote control or autonomous operation.
If you’ve seen documentaries or news about the Normandy landings, thousands of Allied infantry are running hundreds of metres of the beach, sheltering from German fire and seeking cover. This was because the Allies had to land on five beaches at low tide, as the Germans had installed tank traps, barbed wire and minefields to prevent amphibious attacks, and had to take them down before withdrawing armor and supply trucks.
Seventy-five years later, the U.S. Marine Corps and other amphibious forces still face these even more complex obstacles. Currently, the Marine Corps uses an M1A1 tank chassis with a full-body mine-clearing plow, known as a “assault vehicle”, which is handled by the mine-clearing line. The problem is that commandos need crews, and the existing system cannot handle turbulent surf areas.
In order to reduce casualties and to eliminate obstacles in the debris belt, the U.S. Marine Corps designed CRAB, a one-time depleted mine-clearing robot, based on the concept of Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO). These robots can be lowered from public boats along the coast and then crawl on their own to the beach to find and clear mines and obstacles. If it is destroyed, only machinery will be lost.
“CRAB will provide long-range or autonomous explosive and non-explosive obstacle removal capabilities in very shallow waters, in the debris belt and on the beach, supporting combat engineers and the Ordnance Corps in explosive ordnance disposal,” said Michael Poe, head of mobility at the Marine Corps Systems Command. This will enable the Marine Corps to provide the Navy with reliable coastal mobility to support EABO. “