Armored Personnel Carrier M113A3
Armored Personnel Carrier M113A3
The development program continued and additional modifications replaced the X200-3 transmission with the X200-4 and later the X200-4A. The latter would permit future engine upgrades to 350 horsepower. Sliding Kev-lar spall liners were installed on both sides in the troop compartment to reduce the effect of any armor penetration. Evaluation of the vehicle, now designated as the M113A2E1, indicated that the performance was much improved over the M113A2.
Despite a combat weight of over 131/2 tons, the new turbocharged engine provided a power to weight ratio of over 20 gross horsepower per ton.. After some minor modifications, the M113A2E1 was standardized as the full tracked armored personnel carrier M113A3. The new power train components were referred to as the RISE (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment) package. FMC also provided a hydrostatic steer differential as a kit to replace the DS-200 controlled differential in the M113A1 and M113A2. Used with the TX-100 transmission, the brake levers were replaced by a steering wheel and the earlier vehicles were provided with a neutral steer capability.
Except for the external fuel tanks on the rear, the outward appearance of the M113A3 was about the same as the original M113. The next modification was to drastically change that appearance. To improve the survivability of the M113A3 on the battlefield, FMC offered the P-900 applique armor kit as an option.
Bolted to the aluminum armor on the front, sides, and rear, this kit greatly increased the protection level on the M113A3. Mine protection also was enhanced by steel armor in the floor. However, the extra armor did add two tons to the weight of the vehicle. Thus the performance with the new 275 horsepower engine was about the same as the M113A2 when the armor kit was installed. The armor gun shield kit, originally supplied for the armored cavalry assault vehicle (ACAV), was installed around the commander's hatch.
Efforts to improve the level of protection on the M113 family included numerous applique armor kits as well as field modifications. In addition to the P-900 kit described previously, other passive armor upgrades utilized titanium and composite armor to provide protection against 14.5mm projectiles and in some cases against 30mm rounds. Reactive armor was designed to defeat the shaped charge warheads of the rocket propelled grenades (RPG).
Other improvements under consideration included the battlefield combat identification system (BCIS), the AN/VVS-2(V)1 A night viewer for the driver, the enhanced position locating reporting system (EPLRS), the M13 gas particulate filter unit, the improved cold start system, laser protection for the M17 unity optical devices, the TM 10-4 quick erect antenna mast (QEAM), the M113A3 pontoon swim system kit, brackets for the precision lightweight GPS receiver (PLGR), the new solid state vehicle intercommunication system (VIS), a water/ration heater, and a new tie down design to improve transportability (U.S. Army).
On several occasions, completely enclosed turrets were proposed for the vehicle commander permitting him to fire the .50 caliber machine gun without exposure to enemy fire. Other armament combinations also were considered for the commander including twin 7.62mm machine guns, in Vietnam, a United States Navy turret armed with twin 7.62mm machine guns was installed as a field modification.
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