The 2004 National Landmine Policy directed the Pentagon to end the use of persistent landmines after 2010, and introduce self-destructing and self-deactivating alternatives. The XM-7 Spider is the successor to the Matrix system deployed in Iraq, and part of the USA’s Non-Self-Destructing Anti-Personnel Landmine Alternatives (NSD-A) program.
Spider is more of a “remote explosive device” than a typical lay-and-forget land mine. It’s detonated by soldier command, and that soldier can even load non-lethal canisters if the mission calls for it. Unlike conventional land mines, the XM-7 Spider always has a known location, so it can be safely and easily recovered and re-deployed. If that isn’t possible for some reason, XM-7 units deactivate after a set time period, so they won’t become a future threat. It sounds good, and its capabilities are badly needed in places like remote fire bases, and along Korea’s dangerous DMZ. Unfortunately, the program has run into difficulties and delays.