Command post carrier, The personnel compartment
COMMAND POST, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATION VEHICLES
The four pilot vehicles, modified from M113s, were completed at Detroit Arsenal on 1 February 1962. The first was shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground in March for engineering tests. The remaining three went to the Armor, Infantry, and Artillery Boards in February for a two month service evaluation.
Acceptance of the first production lot of 270 XM577s began in December 1962 and was complete in May 1963. In March 1963, AMCTCM Item 640 classified the M577 command post carrier as Standard A. Acceptance of a second production run of 674 M577s began in November 1963 and was completed in mid 1964.
Compared to the M113, the most obvious difference of the M577 was the high silhouette necessary to provide adequate headroom in the personnel compartment. The front of the vehicle extending to the rear of the driving and engine compartments was identical to the M113. In the personnel compartment, the height of the hull was increased by 25 1/4 inches providing headroom inside the vehicle of 74 3/4 inches.
The single 80 gallon fuel tank of the M113 was replaced by two 60 gallon tanks installed with one on each side of the personnel compartment. Each tank served as the support for a 90 inch folding table. The commander's seat and cupola with the .50 caliber machine gun on the M113 were eliminated. They were replaced by a folding platform and a circular hatch at the commander's station without any vision devices(U.S. Army).
The vehicle was equipped with a crew compartment heater, rifle racks, eight interior lights, and two blue blackout lights. A five man troop seat could be attached to either side of the personnel compartment and provision was made on the right side for a large map board. Radios were installed on a shelf along the left wall and on the right front wall.
To provide adequate electric power, a 28 volt, 150 ampere, auxiliary generator was carried on the outside front wall of the personnel compartment. It could be operated in that location or dismounted for use on the ground. A lifting davit and a 50 foot generator cable were provided for dismounted operation.
To extend the working area, a tent could be attached to the rear of the vehicle providing an additional 120 square feet of floor space. Fitted with a blackout entrance, it could be used to connect two or more vehicles for command post operation. When not in use, the tent was stowed on the top rear of the vehicle.
Manned by a crew of five including the driver, the M577 was initially issued on a basis of seven vehicles to tank or mechanized infantry battalions, six per brigade headquarters, and two per division headquarters. At the battalion level, they replaced the Ml 13s used by the S-3, S-3 air, S-2, S-l/4, communications officer, mortar platoon fire direction center, and the medical aid station.
With the introduction of the diesel engine in the M113A1 armored personnel carrier, similar changes were made in the command post carrier. Powered by the 6V53 diesel engine, it retained the original 120 gallon fuel capacity resulting in a cruising range increase from approximately 270 miles to about 370 miles. The new vehicle retained the gasoline driven auxiliary generator.
On 16 December 1963, AMCTCM Item 1807 type classified the diesel powered vehicle as the M577A1 command post carrier, Standard A and reclassified the M577 as Standard B. Production of the M577A1 began in September 1964 with an initial run of 1,225 vehicles.
The XM15 collective protection equipment was intended for use with the M577 and M577A1. It provided protection for the personnel inside the command post carriers without the necessity of wearing individual masks or protective clothing. Operating off of the engine generator, the XM15 consisted of a gas particulate filter unit, a pressure sensing control network, and a protective entrance. The latter was an airlock that allowed contamination free entrance and exit from the vehicle.
When the improved engine cooling system and the new suspension were installed on the M113A2 armored personnel carrier, these changes also were applied to the command post carrier and it was designated as the M577A2. Production of new M577A2s began in July 1979 and the modifications were introduced during depot overhaul of the earlier vehicles in August 1979. Like the other models of the command post carrier, the M577A2 was air transportable, but it was not air droppable. Like the M113A2 and later vehicles, swimming the M577A2 was prohibited during peace time operations.
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