New turret gun vehicle XM723
THE MECHANIZED INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE
Combat loaded, the XM723 weighed about 43,000 pounds. Its maximum road speed was 45 miles per hour and it could swim, propelled by track action, at about 5 miles per hour. The cruising range on roads was approximately 300 miles.
The tests of the new turret gun vehicle XM723 continued into 1976. Although there were some problems with the new transmission and suspension system, they were resolved after a few months delay in the program. However, the greatest concern was the high cost of the new vehicle compared to the familiar M113 series.
THE APPEARANCE OF THE BRADLEY
In August 1976, a Task Force was established to evaluate the MICV program and to determine if it would meet the future requirements of the Army. The recommendations of the Task Force were accepted by the Army in October 1976. In response to these recommendations, a common vehicle would be developed to meet the requirements for a mechanized infantry vehicle and a cavalry scout vehicle. By this time, the XM800 armored reconnaissance scout vehicle had been canceled.
The new vehicle would be armed with the TOW antitank guided missile system in addition to the Bushmaster 25mm cannon in a two man turret. This new turret was referred to as the TBAT-II (TOW Bushmaster armored turret, two man). The new vehicle would retain the hull firing ports, have the same armor protection as the XM723, and it would be amphibious. With the acceptance of these recommendations, the XM723 served as the basis for a new program that would eventually produce the Bradley fighting (infantry combat) vehicle.
In November 1976, the development of the MICV TBAT-II was approved and FMC began the design and mock-up construction of the new vehicle XM723. The mock-up review was at FMC in March 1977 and the basic design was approved. The MICV TBAT-II was designed to carry nine men. In the new vehicle, the driver remained in the left front alongside the power plant compartment. The commander was relocated to the right side of the new, two man, turret with the gunner on the left. In his position, the commander had 360 degree vision through eight unity power periscopes around his hatch.
The integrated day/night sight and two adjacent periscopes in front of his hatch provided frontal vision for the gunner. The primary armament was the 25mm automatic gun. At this time, two weapons were under consideration. These were the self powered 25mm gun XM241 and the externally powered 25mm gun XM242. The latter was the Chain Gun developed by Hughes Helicopter Company (later the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company). A coaxial 7.62mm MAG58 (later M240) machine gun was installed on the right side of the gun mount.
An armored, twin tube, launcher on the left side of the turret carried two TOW missiles. Folded down against the side of the turret for travel, this launcher was raised to the firing position by an electric actuator. The launcher could be reloaded under partial protection by tilting it back toward the cargo hatch. The electric powered turret was stabilized in both azimuth and elevation. The radio equipment was located in the turret with two antennas mounted on the left rear and the right side. A four tube smoke grenade launcher was installed on each side of the turret front.
The new turret gun was shifted to the right and as far forward as possible to maximize the space in the squad compartment. The right fuel tank was reshaped and the engine cooling fan and radiator were moved forward two inches. The hull top plate and exhaust grille were modified to fit the new turret. The fuel was relocated from the left rear to a forward tank below the turret. One squad member was seated just to the rear of the driver and the remaining five were to the rear of the turret.
The firing ports and periscopes were relocated, but the number remained the same with two on each side and two in the rear ramp. Five dual purpose stowage racks for TOW or Dragon missiles were in the left rear of the squad compartment with three horizontal and two vertical. Three light antitank weapon (LAW) missiles also were stowed horizontally on the left side. The cargo hatch was reshaped and lengthened by two inches to permit reloading the TOW launcher. It also was shifted toward the rear to accommodate the larger turret (U.S. Army).
The scout version of the new vehicle was similar to the MICV except that the firing ports were deleted. The crew was reduced to five men consisting of the driver, commander, gunner, and two observers. A small scout motorcycle was stowed on the left side of the squad compartment. The TOW missile stowage was increased to ten plus the two in the launcher and the 25mm ammunition supply was increased from 900 to 1,500 rounds.