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Squad compartment vehicle M2A2 and M3A2

THE APPEARANCE OF THE BRADLEY

The M3A1 cavalry fighting vehicle is shown with the hatches open and the missile launcher retracted into the travel position

The installation of the gas participate filter unit differed on the IFV and the CFV. On the M2E1, face masks and hoses connected to the central filter unit were provided only for the driver, gunner and commander. The infantrymen in the squad compartment vehicle M2A2 and M3A2 had individual masks and filter units built into their protective suits. This permitted them to leave the vehicle for dismounted operations. On the M3E1, all five crew members had masks connected to the central filter unit.

On the new CFY, the three periscopes in the hull roof behind the cargo hatch were eliminated and replaced by four periscopes installed in the cargo hatch cover. The two periscopes on the right side of the squad compartment also were deleted on the CFY. The new IFV retained the original periscope arrangement, but the number of soldiers in the squad compartment was increased from six to seven. The stowage and seating arrangements in both vehicles also were modified.

The M3A1 cavalry fighting vehicle with the hatches closed and the launcher erected in the firing position

The first of the Block I improvements introduced on the production line was the central gas particulate filter unit beginning in May 1986. The TOW 2 missile system appeared on new vehicles in early 1987. When both improvements were installed, the vehicles were designated as the M2A1 IFV and the M3A1 CFV. The new equipment was retrofitted on many of the earlier vehicles ().

During 1983/84, the was subjected to considerable criticism in Congress, much of which was directed at the armor protection. Some people felt that if it was going to operate with tanks, it should be armored like one. This was, of course, impractical within reasonable cost and weight limitations. However, a program was launched to improve the survivability of the Bradley in the battlefield environment. This resulted in the Block II or A2 modifications.



The M2A2 cavalry fighting vehicle

Unlike the Block I improvements, the new modifications changed the external appearance of the Bradley. On the hull, the trim vane was omitted and steel applique armor was installed on the front, vertical sides, and the bottom. Spaced laminate steel armor was added to the rear and spaced laminate steel skirts protected the lower sides. Sections of steel applique armor were attached to the front and sides of the turret and the shroud was removed from the barrel of the 7.62mm ?240? coaxial machine gun. A circular shield attached to the bustle acted as spaced armor for the rear of the turret and provided additional stowage space. Fittings on the steel applique armor were provide for the attachment of passive armor tiles or explosive reactive armor. Kevlar spall liners were installed to protect critical areas inside the new vehicle.

Designated as the M2A2 IFV and the M3A2 CFV, the new vehicles initially retained the same seating arrangement as in the M2A1 and the M3A1. However, the squad in the M2A2 was reduced to six men with the elimination of the soldier seated with his back to the driver. The steel armor on the sides blanked off the side firing ports, but the two in the rear ramp were retained. The front periscope on the left side was deleted, but the one at the left rear was retained.

The M3A2 cavalry fighting vehicle

Both periscopes on the right side of the squad compartment vehicle. remained as on the M2A1 as well as the three roof periscopes behind the cargo hatch. A protective metal cover was installed over the driver's periscopes and wire guards were on each side in front of his hatch. These guards were to protect the driver from wires stretched across the road when he was driving with an open hatch. Since there was no trim vane to serve as a work platform for the power plant compartment, a maintenance stand was provided.

This stand was stowed on the left side of the hull alongside the turret. The stand could be mounted on the front of the vehicle to provide a working surface during maintenance in the power plant compartment. The flotation or water barrier was stowed around the periphery of the vehicle and the components of its support structure were stowed under the maintenance stand on the left side and on the top right rear of the hull. New headlight groups also were installed on the M2A2 and M3A2.

The Bradley A2 turret

loaded, the weight of the M2A2 and the M3A2 was about 30 tons. This increased to approximately 33 tons with the installation of the armor tile kit. The weight could be reduced to 22 tons for air transportation. Obviously, this heavier weight would have reduced the performance without an increase in the available power. Such an increase was obtained by the installation of an upgraded power train. This consisted of the Cummins VTA-903T diesel engine now developing 600 gross horsepower. It was coupled to the improved HMPT-500-3 transmission. With this power train, the maximum speed was 35 miles per hour on roads and 4 miles per hour in water. The 175 gallon fuel tank provided a cruising range of about 250 miles on roads.

Live fire testing of the Bradley, completed in early 1987, evaluated the improvements introduced in the M2A1 and M3A1. The test program also included a so-called minimum casualty version of the vehicle. This vehicle stowed much of the fuel and ammunition outside of the crew compartment to protect them from secondary fires and explosions.

The results of the live fire tests led to further modification of the M2A2 and M3A2. The seating was rearranged in the squad compartment and the vehicle was restowed to reduce the vulnerability. The infantry squad in the M2A2 was increased again from six to seven men. Three men were located on bench seats on each side of the squad compartment vehicle M2A2 and M3A2. The seventh man was seated facing toward the rear just behind the driver.

The Bradley A2 turret

In the M3A2, the two observers were moved to a bench seat on the left side of the squad compartment. The missile stowage was changed with the introduction of the Javelin to replace the earlier Dragon missile. In the restowed M2A2, either five TOW missiles or three TOWs and two Javelins could be carried. In a similar manner, the three LAW missiles were replaced by three AT4 missiles in the restowed M2A2 and M3A2. On later M2A2 vehicles with the MANPAD kit, six Stinger missiles were carried in the right rear of the squad compartment vehicle.

When production ended in 1994, United Defense Limited Partnership (formerly FMC Corporation) had produced 6,724 Bradleys. They consisted of 4,641 IFVs and 2,083 CFVs. The production run included 2,300 M2s and M3s, 1,371 M2Als and M3Als, and 3,053 M2A2s and M3A2s. Many of the earlier vehicles were converted to the A2 configuration.

The reactive armor tiles are installed on the A2 Bradley The attachment points for the tiles can be seen on the Bradley
The M3A2 cavalry fighting vehicle The M3A2 cavalry fighting vehicle
The M2A2 cavalry fighting vehicle The M2A2 cavalry fighting vehicle