The United States Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) is developing weapons and equipment that will help soldiers in conducting future subterranean operations.

The REF received a request from the 2nd Infantry Division stationed in South Korea in 2012 for equipment that could handle and support combat operations within the complex tunnel environment U.S. soldier would encounter should hostilities break out with North Korea.

After a few years of internal refinement and interim assessments, last February the REF coordinated with the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) and the 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division to test these new systems with a conventional unit.

New equipment that was tested by the paratroopers included breaching equipment like battery-powered circular and chain saws, exothermic cutting torches, specialized optics on their weapons and night vision device enhancement, as well as a breathing apparatus that would allow a soldier to spend an extended period of time in smoke or dust-filled spaces.