Infantry combat vehicle XM701


The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry vehicle pilot number 4

In August 1963, the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany signed an agreement to develop a new main battle tank for use by both nations. Referred to as the MBT70, its high performance was expected to far exceed that of the M113 armored personnel carrier. The 1963 publication "A Study of Alternatives for a Post 1965 envisioned a new high performance mechanized infantry combat vehicle (MICV) that could operate with the new main battle tank.

Dubbed the MICV-70, it was not expected to be available before the end of the decade, in the meantime, the Combat Developments submitted a requirement for an interim MICV to be built prior to the availability of the MICV-70. This was approved in March 1964 and in June, a contract was awarded to the Pacific Car and Foundry Company for the design and fabrication of a prototype and five pilots of the mechanized infantry combat vehicle XM701. It also was referred to as the MICV-65.

The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle armed with the 20mm gun M139

Using many components from the M107/M110 self-propelled artillery vehicles then in production, Pacific Car and Foundry was able to deliver the prototype in May 1965 followed shortly by the pilot vehicles. The prototype, registration number 12FP14, differed in some respects from the five pilot vehicles, registration numbers 12FP15 through 12FP19. Obvious recognition differences included the steps near the front of the left side armor and the location of the headlights at the extreme edge of the front.

The first three pilots (PI through P3) had steel hulls while P4 and P5 had aluminum alloy hulls. The turret was steel armor for all five vehicles. This hydraulically operated two man turret was armed with a 20mm Ml 39 gun and a 7.62mm M73 coaxial machine gun. Other armament included two 7.62mm M60 machine guns and five 7.62mm M14 rifles at seven firing stations in the squad compartment. Two firing stations were located on each side, one in each rear corner, and one in the rear ramp. Vision blocks were mounted above the side and corner firing stations and an M27 periscope was installed in the hull roof above the ramp firing station.

The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle

Pilots PI and P4 had ball mounts for the rifles and the remainder had firing ports. The M60 machine guns had ball mounts on all of the pilots. The 12 man crew consisted of the commander and the gunner in the turret, the driver, and nine infantrymen. The driver had one M27 and four M17 periscopes around his hatch and his hatch cover was fitted for the installation of an M24 infrared periscope.

In addition to the door in the rear ramp, hatches were provided for the driver and on top of the turret and the squad compartment. The commander had a 360 degree view through eight vision blocks in the turret and the gunner was equipped with an M34C periscope. Combat loaded, the steel hull version had a weight of 54,050 pounds and the aluminum hull vehicle weighed 50,750 pounds.

The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle

The XM701 was powered by an 8V71T diesel engine with an Allison XTG-411-2A transmission. Hie turbocharged engine developed 425 gross horsepower at 2,300 rpm. When the vehicle was afloat, the engine compartment was completely sealed and water from the outside was used to cool the engine. The flat track torsion bar suspension had five dual road wheels per side. The rear road wheel served as an adjustable trailing idler to maintain track tension. The 15 inch wide, double pin, tracks were driven by the sprockets at the front of the vehicle.

The XM701 was fitted with the E51 NBC gas particulate filter unit. This was a modification of the collective protector designed for the MBT70. The unit pressurized the entire vehicle so that the crew did not need to wear individual masks. An auxiliary power unit was installed in the engine compartment for starting the engine in cold weather and charging the batteries during radio watches ().

The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle

Because the XM701 was expected to operate for 24 hours in the buttoned-up condition, a stove and toilet were included. Although weight and space restrictions eliminated the installation of a winch, two capstans were provided for attachment to the drive sprockets. When not in use, they were stowed on the rear of the vehicle to the left of the ramp. Two 150 foot lengths of nylon line were carried in the squad compartment for use with the capstans.

The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle
The prototype XM701 mechanized infantry combat vehicle