Chaparral missile, Cargo compartment, Air missile
The successful development and deployment of the Sidewinder, infrared guided, air to air missile indicated that it could be employed in the ground to air role. It offered a simple solution to the low altitude air defense problem compared to the highly complex Mauler system. The Aeroneutronics Division of Ford Aerospace (then Philco-Ford) received a contract in early 1965 to adapt the Sidewinder 1С as an ground to air missile.
Prototype units were under test during the Summer of 1965 and missile production began in April 1966. The missiles used a four rail launcher installed on the M730 carrier which was based upon the M548 cargo carrier. The gunner had only an optical sight to aim the system until the infrared seeker locked onto the target. When fired, the missile automatically homed onto the target without any further effort from the gunner.
Named the Chaparral, the missile system installed on the M730 consisted of the M54 launch and control station with four MIM-72 missiles on launch rails. The complete unit was designated as the M48. Eight additional missiles were stowed on the carrier. The Chaparral missile it self was 113 inches long with a launch weight of 195 pounds. Its range was about 11 miles.
The unarmored M730 carrier retained the power train and suspension of the M548 cargo carrier and the cargo compartment was adapted for the installation of the missile system. The vehicle could ford water 40 inches deep without any preparation and with the installation of a flotation curtain, it was amphibious. A cargo compartment cover with six bows was provided to cover the missile system during travel (U.S Army).
When prepared for action, the cargo compartment cover was removed and the bows were stowed on the front of the vehicle. A stationary blast shield in the front of the cargo compartment protected the power plant and blast covers were stowed on top of the power plant compartment. Before launching, these blast covers were unfolded to extend over the cab and the power plant compartment. The crew consisted of five men including the driver. A 20,000 pound capacity winch was installed in the front of the carrier.
When the improved engine cooling system and suspension were introduced on the M548, similar changes were made to the M730 and it was designated as the M730A1. The later introduction of the RISE power package and a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) collective protection system changed the designation to the M730A2 guided missile equipment carrier. The M730A2 was the first vehicle in the M113 family to use the RISE package. It was required to transport the heavier, improved, M54A2 Chaparral aerial intercept guided missile pallet. Approximately 500 M730A1 carriers were converted to the M730A2 in a program ending in the third quarter of fiscal year 1993.
One modification to the M730A2 was the elimination of the winch in the front of the vehicle. The missile also was improved. A new M121 smokeless solid rocket motor eliminated the smoke plume of the original rocket and a more lethal M250 blast-fragmentation warhead replaced the earlier expanding rod warhead. Other improvements to the Chaparral included the introduction of a forward looking infrared (FLIR) night sight. This permitted operation at night and in all but the worst weather conditions. The advanced Chaparral multi-weapons platform was demonstrated on the XM1108 universal carrier during 1993.
As mentioned before, the Oerlikon-Buehrle ADATS was a combined antiaircraft antitank weapon system. Installed on the M113 series vehicle, it could use its own radar to detect low flying aircraft and pass the target to its passive optical tracking system. The Mach 3+ missile was then guided to the target by a coded carbon dioxide laser beam. A proximity fuze detonated the dual purpose warhead for airborne targets. On the M113A2 carrier, the missile system weighed over 16 tons including eight spare missiles.