051 Python and Trailer
Python is a piece of Minefield Breaching Equipment used by the British Royal Engineers to clear a path 200m long and 8m wide through a minefield. This cleared path of 200m can be doubled by what is known as a Tandem Operation whereby the towing AVRE pulls two Pythons one behind the other. The first Python is deployed (usually the rearmost of the two) and fired into the minefield. The spent Python Trailer is then detached. Then the AVRE advances to the far end of the cleared strip and the second Python is deployed and fired. The first trailer is detached before advancing into the minefield because if it is necessary to reverse out of the minefield then it is a difficult enough task to reverse the tracked vehicle when it is towing one loose-coupled trailer and to reverse with two loose-coupled trailers would be virtually impossible.
Python is mounted on the same converted Heavy Floating Bridge Trailer used by the Giant Viper Equipment in its latter days. This trailer is usually towed by the Trojan AVRE, but a Chieftain AVRE was capable of towing it into a firing position.
Python is a product improved version of the earlier Giant Viper. It has a single rocket motor instead of the cluster of eight rockets used previously. Instead of parachutes to slow the rocket down and straighten the explosive hose Python uses a Velcro-Type strip on the canvas cover of the trailer, and this tearing action as the hose deploys aids accuracy of direction of the flight of the rocket. Python can also be supplied with an inert hose for training purposes.
The Royal Engineers used Python in action against the Taliban in Afghanistan in February 2010 during Operation Moshtarak.
This is not the first time that the name Python was used for a piece of British Military equipment. In the 1950s a company by the name of Pye Ltd of Royston Cambridge proposed an anti-tank missile which would have been over 5 feet long and weight more than 80lb. It was proposed to mount three of these missiles on a Land Rover and fire them over the side. This Anti-Tank Guided Missile did not progress too far before it was abandoned.
|Dimensions||100 × 80 × 54 mm|
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