M977 HEMTT with M136 Volcano Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System
M977 HEMTT with M136 Volcano Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System

Taiwan Army Confirms Order for M136 Volcano Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System

Republic of China Army (Taiwan Army) could soon send an official request to the US to purchase a vehicle-based mine dispensing system that enables the quick delivery of land mines to large areas. The proposal to buy the M136 Volcano Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System was approved by the Executive Yuan late last year. Taiwan’s military is preparing to send a letter of request to Washington to initiate the process to purchase the system, without elaborating on the amount the military would spend on the system and when the system would be delivered. The military was interested in the Volcano because of the speed with which it could move around and disperse the mines, as well as the size of the area it could cover

The M136 Volcano Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System is an automated mine delivery system developed by the United States Army in the 1980s. The system uses prepackaged mine canisters which contain multiple anti-personnel (AP) and/or anti-tank (AT) mines which are dispersed over a wide area when ejected from the canister. The system, commonly referred to as Volcano, is also used by other armies around the world. The primary purpose of Volcano is to provide the employing force with the capability to emplace large minefields rapidly under varied conditions. Volcano minefields are ideal for providing flank protection of advancing forces and for operating in concert with air and ground units on flank guard or screen missions.

A M977 HEMTT with M136 Volcano mine dispensing system emplaces training mines during the company’s training at Wilcox Range on Fort Knox, Ky.(U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood)

The system consists of the M139 Dispenser used for dispensing pre-packaged mine canisters, the dispensing control unit (DCU), and mounting hardware, and is designed to be mounted on either ground or aerial vehicles using the same components except for the mounting hardware, which varies between fitment. The volcano is designed to be fitted to and removed from vehicles with a minimum of time and labor. The dispensing system is also designed for ease of use, to be operated by personnel with a minimum of training. The ordnance used by the system is based upon a modified GATOR mine. Both live and inert (training) ordnance is available; live canisters are painted green while inert canisters are painted blue.

When fitted to aircraft, the system is referred to as Air Volcano and when fitted to ground vehicles is referred to as Ground Volcano. Air Volcano is the fastest method for emplacing large tactical minefields. Although mine placement is not as precise as it is with ground systems, Air Volcano minefields can be placed accurately enough to avoid the danger inherent in minefields delivered by artillery or jet aircraft. Ground Volcano is designed to emplace large minefields in-depth and tactical minefields oriented on enemy forces in support of maneuver operations and friendly AT fire. It is ideal for use as an obstacle reserve, employed when enemy forces reach a decision point that indicates future movement.

UH-60 Blackhawk of the US Army 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion 1st Combat Aviation Brigade 1st Infantry Division fitted with the Volcano mine system (Photo U.S Army 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division)