The US military argues that it must retain its “mixed mine” antipersonnel/antitank (AP/AT) systems in order to provide a means of interdicting and then destroying armored enemy columns.
In the course of our researches over the last four years - since the promulgation of PDD-64 - and as a result of our consultations with senior US military officers, VFA believes that the United States is closer than ever to full compliance with the global effort to ban antipersonnel landmines. We cite the following reasons:
- The US military is no longer dependent on mixed mine systems to “turn, block and disrupt” attacking enemy tank formations. The development of highly sophisticated, light, precise, smart and lethal tank killers have made mixed mine systems obsolete. It is no longer necessary to stop a tank formation before killing it; long range, fire-and-forget, munitions have been identified and fielded in suitable numbers to allow the US to take mixed mine systems out of the US inventory. These alternatives include: Longbow-Hellfire (the primary killer of tanks in the Gulf War), Maverick, BAT-ATACMS [Brilliant Anti-Armor Technology], the Sensor Fused Weapon, Hornet Wide Area Munition [WAM], High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS], Javelin, Predator, and Joint Standoff Weapon.
- The US military has not used antipersonnel, antitank landmines or mixed AP/AT systems in any conflict since the Gulf War. In the Gulf War (in their last employment), mixed AP/AT systems were used in the western desert of Iraq– where they, by US military admission, “inhibited US force maneuver.”
- The US military is in the midst of a major and revolutionary transformation of its combat structure that emphasizes the adoption of light, precise and lethal weapons. Mixed AP/AT mines systems are unwieldy and imprecise and do not have a place in today’s newly transformed highly mobile military.
- A recent GAO study has shown that the United States has seven times the number of anti-armor weapons needed to destroy all of the armored vehicles that can be deployed by all the nations of the world. The US military has 35 different weapons that it has designed and deployed to kill armor, and nine more such weapons systems are in development. The procurement of mixed system AP/AT anti-armor weapons is not a military priority and, it appears, they are being slowly phased out. The study also notes, saliently, that the development of new and smarter anti-armor weapons provide “increased performance and lethality over current mines in inventory.”
- In planning its anti-armor priorities from FY2000 to FY2005, the US military did not project funding any mixed system (with the exception of RADAM, whose funding has recently been halted). The US has not produced any mixed systems since 1996.
Veterans for America stands ready to continue its work with the US military in ensuring that our forces are both antipersonnel landmine-free and that the elimination of this weapon does not endanger the lives of our men and women in uniform.