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home » American Tanks » Command post, Antitank vehicles » Antitank vehicle
date of publication: 14-02-2014


Antitank vehicle, Armored personnel carrier

ANTITANK VEHICLE

The 106mm recoilless rifle on the M113 armored personnel carrier

Although there were some problems with the semiautomatic loader, the tests at Aberdeen concluded that there was no degradation of accuracy when firing the turret mounted recoilless rifle. However, in March 1961, the Materiel Requirement Review Committee decided that there was no longer a requirement that justified the development of an antitank vehicle version of the T114 and that all time and assets should be allocated to the development of the command and reconnaissance vehicle. The two pilots were then converted to the revised design of the command and reconnaissance vehicle for user evaluation.

After introduction of the M113 armored personnel carrier, there were several proposals for the installation of recoilless rifles as armament. In Vietnam, the 106mm recoilless rifle was mounted on the M113 as a field modification. However, all of these installations were to provide support firepower and were not directly intended for antitank use.

The 106mm recoilless rifle on the M113 armored personnel carrier

In November 1951, the established a requirement for an antitank guided missile. The development program for the Dart missile was in response to this requirement. The Dart was a wire guided missile with a seven inch diameter, 20 pound, shaped charge warhead. It flew at about 350 feet per second with a maximum range of approximately 6,000 yards.

However, the effective range was probably about 2,000 yards. As mentioned before, it was proposed for installation on the early T113 armored personnel carrier. However, the Dart was canceled in 1958 because of increasing weight and complexity.

The French SS-10 wire guided missile was built under license in the United States by the General Electric Company. The 6.46 inch diameter, 32.75 inch long missile had a wingspan of 29.55 inches. Weighing only 33.1 pounds, it had an maximum range of 1,500 meters at a speed of about 180 mile per hour. The SS-10 was installed experimentally on the M59 armored personnel carrier.

The Dart antitank missile is on an early launcher

The French SS-11 missile also was produced in the United States by the General Electric Company. Larger than the SS-10, it was 42.5 inches long, but the wingspan was reduced to 20.45 inches. Weighing 63 pounds, the wire guided missile had an effective range of about 3,600 meters traveling at a speed of approximately 425 miles per hour. Intended for use on both helicopters and ground vehicles, it was installed experimentally on the M59 and armored personnel carrier.

The development of the TOW (tube launched, optically tracked, wire guided) missile provided a powerful weapon for both ground mounts and helicopters. Introduced late in the Vietnam War, it was an obvious candidate for a vehicle mount that would provide mobility and armor protection for its crew.

Development of the XM233E1 kit allowed the TOW system to be installed in an and fired from the open cargo hatch. Standardized as the M233, this kit consisted of a pedestal mount for the TOW system that could be retracted inside the vehicle when not in use. Also, the TOW could be quickly removed from the vehicle and fired from the ground.

The Dart antitank missiles SS-11 and SS-10

A problem with the M233 installation was that the gunner was exposed in the open vehicle hatch when loading or firing the missile. A protective framework with ballistic nylon/Kevlar panels was developed as an interim solution by the Army Natick Laboratories.

Mounted on top of the vehicle, it gave some top and side protection, but it was open at the front and rear. It also restricted the traverse of the launcher. Designated as the TOW CAP (TOW cover, artillery protection), it was obviously a stopgap measure.

The SS-11 missiles installed on the T113E2 armored personnel carrier The SS-11 missiles installed on the T113E2 armored personnel carrier
The SS-11 missiles installed on the T113E2 armored personnel carrier The SS-11 missiles installed on the T113E2 armored personnel carrier
The TOW missile launcher installed on the M113 The TOW missile launcher installed on the M113
The TOW missile launcher installed on the M113