Learn more about M2 Bradley
|M2 Bradley IFV|
|Crew||3 + 6|
|Armour and armament|
|Armour||Aluminium / Steel|
|Main armament|| 25 mm M242 Chain Gun |
|Secondary armament|| 7.62 mm M240C machine gun
|Power plant|| diesel |
600 hp (447 kW)
|Road speed||66 km/h|
The M2 Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and M3 Bradley CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle) are American infantry fighting vehicles manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, (formerly United Defense, originally FMC).
The mission of the Bradley on the battlefield is to transport infantry, to provide fire cover to dismounted troops and to supress enemy tanks and armored fighting vehicles. The M2 holds a crew of three: a commander, a gunner, and a driver; as well as as six fully equipped soldiers. The M3 mainly conducts scout missions and carries a crew of three and two scouts.
 Production History
The Bradley, named after WWII General Omar Bradley consists of two types of vehicles, the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. The M3 CFV was originally going to be named after General Jacob L. Devers <ref>Haworth, W. Blair (1999). The Bradley and How It Got That Way: Technology, Institutions, and the Problem of Mechanized Infantry in the United States Army. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. 0313309744.</ref>, but it was decided the Bradley name would apply to both, since both vehicles are based on the same chassis (they differ in only some details). The M2 carries a crew of three and a six-man infantry squad. The M3 carries the crew of three and a two-man scout team and additional radios, TOW and Dragon or Javelin missiles.
The troubled development history of the Bradley is described in Air Force Lt. Col. James Burton's 1993 book (James G. Burton, The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press) ISBN 1-55750-081-9, which was adapted for the 1998 film The Pentagon Wars starring Kelsey Grammer and Cary Elwes. 
It is also the subject of Chapter 12 "Lethal beyond all expectations: The Bradley Fighting Vehicle" by Diane L. Urbina in the book Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of U.S. Armored Forces, edited by George F. Hofmann and Donn A. Starry, Lexington, Kentucky; The University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-2130-2.
The Bradley AFV was designed largely to trump the BMP-1, and to serve as both an APC and a tank-killer. Specifically, it was designed in response to the higher cruising speed of the Abrams. The older models of the M113 APC could not keep up, though these vehicles are more cross-country mobile in closed terrain, amphibious and C-130 air-transportable capabilities lost with the Bradley. Newer M113 models with bigger engines can easily outpace the Bradley in open terrain and upgraded into the AIFV have the same 25mm autocannon capabilities. The M113 however is only protected against 7.62mm AP rounds whereas the original Bradley was protected against 14.5mm rounds and the A2 (and up) version is protected against 30mm AP and RPGs.
The 25 mm cannon fires up to 200 rounds per minute, and is accurate up to 2500 m. The twin TOW2B missiles are capable of destroying most hostile tanks at a maximum range of 3750 m. A large drawback of the TOW is that it can only be fired while the vehicle is standing still. The Bradley also carries an M240C coaxial 7.62 mm medium machine gun, located to the right of the 25 mm chain gun. Its open terrain cross-country capability is superb, as during its design phase, a main objective was to keep it up to speed with the M1 Abrams main battle tank. The vehicle hull is of aluminum construction, one of the points used by critics to deride the vehicle. Aluminium armor tends to vaporize in the face of HEAT warheads; this and the prodigious storage of ammunition in the vehicle initially raised questions about its combat survivability. Spaced laminate belts and high hardness steel skirts have been added to later versions to improve armor protection at the cost of overall weight increasing to 33 tons. Actual combat operations, however, have not shown the Bradley to be overtly deficient as losses have been few but more than what should be expected from a 33-ton vehicle. USAF LTC James Burton's efforts to redesign the Bradley were not fully implemented; Bradleys still store their fuel dangerously in the vehicle center when M113A3s have their fuel stored on the left and right rear to prevent fires/explosions inside the troop compartment.
The Bradley series has been widely modified. Its chassis is the basis for the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, the M4 C2V battlefield command post, and the M6 Bradley Linebacker air defense vehicle. Armed with a quad Stinger surface to air missile launcher (instead of the TOW anti-tank missiles) and maintaining the 25mm autocannon, the M6 Bradley Linebacker Air Defense Vehicle possesses a unique role in the U.S. Army, providing highly mobile air defense at the front line. Its' suspension system has also been used on upgraded versions of the US Marines' Amphibious Assault Vehicle.
The Bradley is equipped with the M242 25 mm chain gun as its main weapon. The M242 has a single barrel with an intregated dual feed mechanism and remote feed selection. <ref>http://www.army-technology.com/projects/bradley/</ref> The gun contains ammunition in two ready boxes of 70 rounds and 230 rounds each for a total of 300 ready rounds and carries 600 rounds in storage. The two ready boxes allow selectable mix of rounds such as the M791 APDS-T (Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot (with) Tracer), and M792 HEI-T (High Explosive Incendiary (with) Tracer) rounds. The APDS-T depleted uranium rounds proved highly effective in Desert Storm being capable of knocking out many Iraqi vehicles including several kills on T-55 tanks. There have even been reports of kills against Iraqi T-72 tanks (at close range).
It is also armed with a M240C machine gun mounted coaxially to the M242, with 2,200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition. For engaging heavier targets (such as when acting in an anti-tank fashion), the Bradley has a TOW missile system onboard, which was changed to fire TOW II missiles, onwards from the M2A1 model. Bradleys also have openings for a number of M231 Firing Port Weapons or FPWs. Initial variants carried 6 total, but the side ports were removed for the new armor used on the A2 and A3 variants, leaving only the two rear-facing mounts in the loading ramp.
The M2 (also sometimes written M2A0 to help prevent confusion) was the basic production model, first produced in 1982. The M2A0 was can be identified by its standard TOW missile system and 500-horsepower engine with HMPT-500 Hydromechanical transmission. Basic features also included an integrated sight unit for the M242 25mm, and thermal imaging system. The M2A0 was amphibious with the use of a "Swim Barrier" and was C-141 and C-5 transportable. All M2A0 vehicles have been upgraded to improved standards. The A0 series armor protects the vehicle against 14.5mm AP.
Introduced in 1986, the A1 variant included an improved TOW II missile system, a Gas Particulate Filter Units (GPFU) NBC system, and a fire-suppression system. By 1992, the M2A1s had begun being remanufactured to upgraded standards.
Introduced in 1988, the A2 received an improved 600-horsepower (447 kW) engine with a HMPT-500-3 Hydromechanical transmission and improved armor (both passive and the ability to mount explosive reactive armor). The new armor protects the Bradley against 30mm AP rounds and RPG's (or similar anti-armor weapons). Ammo stowage was reorganized and spall liners were added. The M2A2 was qualified to be transported by the C-17 Globemaster III. M2A2s will all eventually be modified to M2A2 ODS or M2A3 standard.
 M2A2 ODS/ODS-E and M3A2 ODS
The "Operation Desert Storm" and "Operation Desert Storm-Engineer" improvements were based on lessons learned during the first Gulf War in 1991. The major improvements included an eye-safe laser rangefinder (ELRF), a tactical navigation system (TACNAV) incorporating the Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR) and the Digital Compass System (DCS), a missile countermeasure device designed to defeat first-generation wire-guided missiles, and the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Battlefield Command Information System. The internal stowage was further improved and a thermal imaging system was added for the driver.
Introduced in 2000, the A3 upgrades make the Bradley IFV/CFV totally digital and upgrade or improve existing electronics systems throughout improving target acquisition and fire control, navigation, and situational awareness. Also, the survivability of the vehicle is upgraded with a series of armor improvements, again both passive and reactive, as well as improved fire-suppression systems and NBC equipment.
 Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicle
The BSFV is designed specifically for the carriage and support of a Stinger MANPADS team.
 M6 Linebacker
An air defense variant, these vehicles are modified M2A2 ODSs with the TOW missile system replaced with a four-tube Stinger missile system. Despite the fact that the vehicle is superior to the Bradley SFV (the crew does not have to dismount and can fire on the move) and the M1097 Humvee Avenger (since it is tracked and armored) these are due to be retired from U.S. service.<ref>Air Defense Artillery April-June 2005</ref>
 M7 Bradley Fire Support Team
The Bradley FIST is designed to replace existing forward observation vehicles in the U.S. Army inventory, and adds an inertial navigation system and a new targeting station control panel. A mission-processor unit automates the fire-request system.
 Combat History
During the Gulf War, M2 and M3 Bradleys destroyed more Iraqi armor than the M1 Abrams.<ref>Global Security</ref> 20 Bradleys were lost; 3 during combat and 17 due to friendly fire accidents. To remedy some problems that were identified as contributing factors in the friendly fire incidents, infrared identification panels and other marking/identification measures were added to the Bradleys.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Bradley has proved somewhat vulnerable to mobility kills (attacks that do not necessarily destroy the vehicle completely, but render it inoperable or immobile, such as track or engine malfunctions) through IED and mass RPG attacks, but casualties have been light—the doctrine being to allow the crew to escape at the expense of the vehicle. As of early 2006, total losses (including non-combat incidents) were at 50 Bradleys. 
 See also
- The Pentagon Wars
- British Warrior Tracked Armoured Vehicle
- French AMX-10P
- German Schützenpanzer Marder
- German Schützenpanzer Puma
- Spanish ASCOD AFV
- Soviet BMP IFV
- Swedish CV90 IFV
- BAE Systems Land and Armaments
 External links
- Bradley M2/M3 Information - Army Technology
- U. S. Army Factfile: Bradley FV
- Bradley M2/M3 at army-guide.com
- Bradley Fighting Vehicle Sytems Upgrade to A3de:M2 Bradley