XM2 infantry fighting vehicle
THE APPEARANCE OF THE BRADLEY
In May 1977, the program received a new name. The two versions were now referred to as the fighting vehicle systems (FVS) and the MICY and the scout vehicle became the XM2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and the XM3 cavalry fighting vehicle (CFV) respectively. In June 1977, the program was expanded to include the ground support rocket system (GSRS). Later, this became the multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). The basic vehicle was referred to as the fighting vehicle system (FVS) carrier. It had the same power train and suspension as the two fighting vehicles.
The XM2 and XM3 differed slightly from the TBAT-II design. The configuration along the left side was changed. The top of the spaced laminate armor was now a straight line extending to the rear and the armor around the firing ports was modified. On the right side, the spaced laminate armor had the same stepped configuration as on the XM723, but it did not extend as high alongside the engine compartment and the turret.
A larger driver's hatch was installed with the four periscopes mounted in the hatch cover itself. A new torsion bar suspension replaced the tube-over-bar design on the XM723. The front three road wheels were moved four inches forward increasing the ground contact length from 150 to 154 inches. Modifications also were made to the idler wheel mounting, shock absorbers, track return rollers, track guides, final drives, and sprockets.
The first two XM2 prototypes were delivered by FMC in December 1978 and six more followed in March of 1979. After further tests, the vehicles were type classified as the infantry fighting vehicle M2 and the cavalry fighting vehicle M3 in December 1979. Full production was authorized in January 1980 and the first production vehicle was delivered in May 1981. Initially, it was proposed to name the M2 after General of the U.S. Army Omar N. Bradley and to name the M3 after General Jacob L. Devers. However, because of the great similarity between the two vehicles, both were named the Bradley fighting vehicle in October 1981.
The production M2 and M3 fighting vehicle were almost identical in outward appearance. The only obvious difference was the blanked off firing ports on the M3. The driver in both vehicles was in the left front with the four periscope hatch cover. The gunner and commander rode in the turret on the left and right respectively. The 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon was mounted to the left of the coaxial 7.62mm M240C machine gun.
The Bushmaster was an externally powered weapon which fired single shots or at rates of 100 or 200 rounds per minute. The weapon was chain driven by a 1.5 horsepower electric motor. Hence the name Chain Gun, a registered trade mark of the manufacturer. The M242 fired both high explosive (HE) and armor piercing discarding sabot (APDS) ammunition. With a muzzle velocity of 4,460 feet per second, the APDS round could defeat the armor on the Soviet BMP turret at 45 degrees obliquity and at a distance greater than the 800 meter effective range of that combat vehicle is 73mm gun.
The dual feed mechanism of the M242 permitted the gunner to switch instantly from one type of ammunition to the other. The 25mm gun had an elevation range from +59 to -9 degrees and a high speed slew rate of 60 degrees per second to permit the rapid engagement of alternate targets such as helicopters. The all electric turret drive and stabilization system allowed the accurate engagement of targets while the vehicle was moving. A total of 300 25mm ready rounds were carried in the turret. The M2 and M3 stowed an additional 600 and 1,200 25mm rounds respectively in the hull.
The armored, two tube, TOW missile launcher was hinged to the left side of the turret. When raised to the firing position, the launcher had a separate elevating mechanism with a range of +29 to -19 degrees. Two TOW missiles were carried in the launcher. The M2 carried five TOW or Dragon missiles in the hull stowage racks at the left rear of the squad compartment. On the M3, ten TOW missiles were stowed in the hull racks. The TOW missiles could be launched only when the vehicle was stopped. Both vehicles carried three LAW missiles in the hull.