Clearing battlefield obstacles has pitted trapper against sapper since Roman times. But whereas the minefields and dragon teeth of previous conflicts merely slowed advancing armies, the IEDs favored by today’s insurgents have become the number one killer in the Long War. Now, to ensure safe passage through trap laden Afghan paths, the British Army is fighting fire with even bigger fire in the form of their newly developed Python explosive whip.
Basically a bangalore torpedo on steroids, the Python is a 500 meter tube of explosives tethered to a rocket on one end, and an armored truck on the other. The rocket casts the Python across a dangerous stretch of ground like a fishing line. When the snake goes boom, any mines, traps, or IEDs nearby go boom with it. The result? A clear path for a third of a mile.
“We are clearing this belt of death so that civilians and their families can begin to live without fear of being blown to pieces by a cowardly and dishonorable enemy that is happy to kill indiscriminately,” said Lt Col Matt Bazeley, CO of 28 Engineering Regiment, who oversaw the use of Python during Operation Moshtarak in Afhganistan.
But don’t take his word for it. Here’s a video, courtesy of the Ministry of Defense, showing the Python going to work: