Cargo carrier M548
A UNIVERSAL CHASSIS BASED UPON THE M113 SERIES
Following the T122 and the XM474 series development, numerous proposals were presented for a variety of carriers using the components of the M113. One concept combined the armored front section of the T122 with an unarmored rear section based upon the XM474E1 design. Later, a similar approach combined the armored front section from an M113 with an unarmored rear cargo body from the XM474E2.
In 1960, a Signal Corps requirement resulted in the development by FMC ofwhatwould be a truly universal carrier based upon the earlier work on the XM474E2. Designated as the XM548, it was intended to carry the control center and crew of the AN/MPQ-32 counter-battery radar system. When the control center was removed from the vehicle, it would then serve as a cargo carrier M548. However, weight increases during the development of the radar system soon exceeded the capacity of the M113 suspension on the XM548 and it was no longer suitable for that application.
Although six pilot vehicles had been ordered, only two were delivered. One of these was under test by the Electronics Command and the other was used as a cargo carrier during Exercise Swamp Fox II. The latter vehicle, fitted with roll bars instead of a cab, was dubbed "Catamount" and it showed excellent performance during the exercise. This pilot was then evaluated at Fort Sill to provide information for further development. It was eventually returned to FMC and converted into a 5 ton wrecker.
Item 2182 of the Army Materiel Command Technical Committee Minutes (AMCTCM), dated 25 June 1964, initiated the development of a new version of the vehicle designated as the 6 ton tracked cargo carrier XM548E1. This vehicle utilized the power train and running gear of the M113A1 armored personnel carrier. With a fuel capacity of 105 gallons, the new diesel powered vehicle had a cruising range of about 300 miles. Standardized as the cargo carrier M548, the unarmored vehicle had a combat weight of slightly over 14 tons including its 6 tonpayload.
The hull of the M548 was a watertight welded assembly of 5083 aluminum alloy and the open top bed was 130 5/8 inches in length and 63 3/4 inches wide between the sponsons. The bed could be raised to the sponson level providing a full width of 96 1/2 inches. In the lower position, the bed was only 26'Л inches above ground level. Access to the rear of the cargo compartment was provided by two watertight tailgates. The lower tailgate was hinged at the bottom and the upper tailgate could be swung open from either end (U.S. Army).
With the tailgates and track shrouds in place, the vehicle was amphibious. In water, the freeboard ranged from 24 inches unloaded to 12 inches with a full 6 ton load. The M548 was equipped with six aluminum bows and a vinyl coated cover for the cargo area. Tie down eyes were provided to secure the cargo (carrier). Four men could be seated in the cab under a vinyl coated fabric cab cover.
An M49A1 or an M66 ring mount for a machine gun could be installed over the center of the cab. An opening in the cab roof provided access to the machine gun mount. A winch with a 20,000 pound line pull was installed in the center front hull below the driving compartment. The maximum speed of the M548 was 38 miles per hour on hard roads and about 3 1/2 miles per hour in water.
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