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BRADLEY M2/M3 TRACKED ARMOURED FIGHTING VEHICLES

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle System is manufactured by United Defence Limited Partnership (UDLP) and includes the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. It is in service with the armies of the USA and Saudi Arabia. Since 1981, 6,720 vehicles of both types have been fielded.

The role of the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is to transport infantry on the battlefield, to provide fire cover to dismounted troops and to suppress enemy tanks and fighting vehicles. The M2 carries three crew, commander, gunner and driver, plus six fully equipped infantry men. The M3 performs scout missions and carries three crew plus two scouts.

M2A3/M3A3 UPGRADE PROGRAM

The US Army A3 Bradley upgrade programme includes improvements based on operational experience in the Gulf War. The first low-rate initial production M2A3/M3A3 Bradley was delivered in November 1998 and entered service in April 2000. The system was approved for full-rate production in May 2001. The current contract calls for 389 M2A3 and 77 M3A3 vehicles to be upgraded by 2005. 926 Bradley vehicles were to be upgraded but the US Army has decided to cancel future production of the M2A3 from FY2004.

The upgrade includes the Improved Bradley Acquisition System (IBAS) for the TOW missile from DRS Technologies and Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), from Raytheon which use second generation thermal imagers derived from the US Army’s Horizontal Technology Initiative (HTI). The imagers are based on a 480 x 4 scanning infrared focal plane array. The IBAS also has day TV and direct view optics, automatic dual target tracking, eyesafe laser rangefinder and two-axis stabilised head mirror. The thermal imaging DRS Technologies Driver's Vision Enhancer (DVE), AN\VAS-5, uses a 320 x 240 uncooled ferroelectric scanning array. A combat identification system is being installed. The electronics system includes a databus with central processors and digital information displays for commander, driver and squad leader.

FIRE CONTROL AND OBSERVATION

The gunner is equipped with a Raytheon Integrated Sight Unit (ISU) which includes a day/thermal sight of magnification x4 and x12. An optical relay provides the image of the gunner's sight to the commander. The gunner also has periscopes for forward and side observation. A daytime sight system for the gunner or commander is provided as backup to the primary sight.

The driver is equipped with three forward periscopes plus one periscope to the left. The central periscope can be replaced with the Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton) AN/VVS-2 Driver's Night Viewer with a 25mm second generation image intensifier.

ARMAMENT

The main armament is a ATK Ammunition Systems (formerly Boeing Ordnance) 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun. The M242 has a single barrel with an integrated dual feed mechanism and remote feed selection. The gunner can select single or multiple shot mode. The standard rate of fire is 200 rounds/minute but the gun is optionally converted to 500 rounds/minute. An M240C 7.62mm machine gun is mounted coaxially to right of the Bushmaster.

The M2 Bradley is equipped with the Raytheon TOW BGM-71 anti-tank missile system. The twin-tube TOW launcher is mounted on the left of the turret. The target is tracked using an optical sight, which detects the infrared signal from the back of the missile in flight. A double-wire command link between the missile and the gunner is dispensed from two spools at the back of the missile. The launcher sends flight correction data to the guidance system on the missile via the command link. The range of the TOW missile is 3.75km.

SELF-PROTECTION

The Bradley is equipped with two M257 smoke grenade dischargers, each loaded with four smoke grenades. It is also fitted with an engine smoke generating system.

The hull of the M2 is constructed of welded aluminium and spaced laminate armour. In addition, the M2A2/M3A2 Bradleys have applique steel armour with provision for additional passive armour or explosive reactive armour (ERA). General Dynamics Armament and Technical products has developed an enhanced-capability reactive armour package for the Bradley. 545 sets have been ordered to be delivered by 2005. The ERA will enhance protection against a variety of anti-armour munitions including shoulder-launched rocket propelled grenades (RPGs).

PROPULSION

The Bradley is equipped with a VTA-903T engine from Cummins Engine Co of Colombus, Indiana. The hydromechanical transmission HMPT-500 from Lockheed Martin provides three speed ranges. The engines provide a maximum speed of 66km/h.

All Bradleys are amphibious. Earlier models are equipped with a water barrier, which is fitted by the crew before entering the water. A3 models have an inflatable pontoon which fits on the front and sides of the vehicle. Water propulsion is provided by tracks and the Bradley can attain a maximum speed of 7.2km/h in water.

Crew   
M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle  three crew plus seven equipped infantry 
M2A2  three crew members plus six equipped infantry 
M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle  three crew (commander, gunner, driver) plus two scouts 
Dimensions   
length  6.55 metres 
width  3.61 metres 
height  2.565 metres 
Performance   
Speed  66 km/hour maximum speed by road 
  7.2 km/hour maximum on water 
Range  483 kilometres