Engineers have it easy. They get to build and repair stuff behind the front line, wearing tethered XOS suits and sipping on coffee whenever they have break. Sappers do everything they do, minus the suits and the coffee.
Now, add a downpour, and bursts of enemy fire coming in. Pile on path-clearing (obstacle removal), EOD, combat patrols, casualty recovery, and you need tough, Swiss-army-knife soldiers.
Which is exactly what Sappers are.
- Squad Leader
- Demolition Specialist
- Robotics Specialist
- Construction Specialist
Sappers squads commonly have a single M117A attached to them.
Sappers rely on their eyes and ears, although they are greatly assisted by real-time data input, with a HMD that provides them of the battle data, and a small tactical map displaying friendlies and known hostiles. A right-eye monocle provides additional assistance when Sappers are servicing friendly equipment in the area. An E/O camera mounted on the squad leader's helmet helps improve situation awareness for the entire group of NAU forces. A GPS Blue-force-tracker is standard.
To detect underground surprises, Sappers can bring out handheld T-wave scanners to pick out objects hidden under the earth's surface. This vastly improves their EOD capabilities.
Mk.18/ G38 PDW (4)
The Mk.18 or the G38, manufactured by H&K, is the new standard issue of the North Atlantic Union. Essentially an XM8 chambered for 6.8mmx43mm rounds and a better factory-issue optics array, the Mk.18 outperforms the M4, G36, L85, FA MAS, AUGA4, or any other rifle with ease. It draws from a 30-round magazine. The PDW variant is issued a folding short stock and a short 30cm barrel. The under-barrel rail is fitted with a flashlight, a nightvision-illuminator, and a hand grip.
The following are field defenses that Sappers are able to construct on their own (of course, the equipment-hauling Mastiff is required.)
- Concertina Wire—three coils of barbed wire strung on iron stakes, two on the bottom and one on the top. Cannot be hopped by infantry, but anything larger can easily flatten it.
- HESCO Bastion—a good-old sandbag wall, only that it's 2.1m tall, 1.5m wide, 30m long, and uses Kevlar and wire mesh instead of cloth. Effective at blocking HE, light RPGs, small arms, light cannon shells, infantry, and light to medium vehicles.
- ARGES Mine—ARGES is an off-route anti-tank mine consisting of a rocket (and launch tube), a tripod, and a sensor package. The device uses an acoustic sensor to detect the approach of a suitable target (vehicle) and activates the passive IR and laser sensors. When the vehicle passes in front of the mine, it fires a modified LAW 80 tandem-HEAT rocket. The rocket is fully armed at 2 meters, and self-destructs past 100m. The mine is fully programmable, able to select a specific target in a convoy of vehicles, and has a programmable self-destruct time of between 3 hours and 720 hours.
- Fighting Position—a small 1.5m deep cross-shaped pit complete with a grenade sump to minimize frag damage. Has enough space to squeeze in a single 5-man squad of infantry—Titans need not apply. Can be upgraded to obtain camouflage netting, timber/ steel reinforcement, or even an M2 HMG, complete with ammunition and crew.
Sappers wear a full-body protective system, Advanced Infantry Ballistic Armor, or AIBA. AIBA provides the soldier with full-body shrapnel protection, a light NBC mask, 7.62mm x51mm-resistant ballistic body armor, and a helmet with the same amount of protection as the body armor. AIBA Body Armor and Helmets are built of Kevlar and D-30 (non-Newtonian Foam) weave. Ceramic inserts are applied in the torso area and helmet to stop rifle rounds.
Sappers march on their feet, carrying 25-kilo packs. Which is why they're more often than not directly transported to their location. However, that does not mean that they cannot endure 25-kilometer force marches, nor does that mean that they like it.
The Mechanical Exoskeletal Support Suit, built by General Atomics, is a lower-body power-assistance suit to provide the Sapper with direct mechanical support for the lower body and the rustsack, which greatly reduces his walking load and therefore improves endurance. MESS is powered by a replaceable lithium-polymer battery that has 6 hours of runtime.