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Infantry Fighting Vehicle M2 Bradley1-6
M2: General
Date of first acceptance May 1981 Total acceptances 2300 M2 and M3
Manufacturer FMC Corp. Crew
9 men:
  • Commander in turret left
  • Gunner in turret right
  • Driver in hull left front
  • 6 passengers
M2: Dimensions
Combat weight 50,259lbs
22,797kg
Height over commander's hatch 117"
297cm
Length 254"
645cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 126"
320cm
Tread 96"
240cm
Ground clearance 18"
46cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 7.8psi
.55kg/cm²
M2: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation Max elevation rate
25mm Chain Gun M242 Bushmaster Turret 900 rounds
(300 ready)
360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +59° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
7.62mm M240C MG Coaxial to 25mm gun 2200 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +59° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
Dual TOW missile launcher Turret 5 TOW missiles + 2 in launcher 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +29° to -19°
(electric)
15°/sec
Stabilizer
Azimuth and elevation
Night vision
Thermal
M2: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Steel, 5083 aluminum, and 7039 aluminum armor
Turret
Steel, 5083 aluminum, and 7039 aluminum armor
M2: Automotive
Engine Cummins VTA-903T; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, vee, turbosupercharged diesel
Horsepower Gross: 500@2600 rpm Torque Gross: 1025 ft-lb@2350rpm Fuel capacity 197gal
746L
Transmission General Electric HMPT-500 hydromechanical, automatic range selection
Steering Hydrostatic, steering yoke
Brakes Multiple plate, oil cooled
M2: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 6 individually sprung dual/track 1 dual/track, 2 single/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
11-tooth front drive Dual adjustable at rear of track On first 3 and last road wheels/track
M2: Track
Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad
Width 21"
53cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track Left side: 84
Right side: 82
Ground contact length 154"
391cm
M2: Performance
Max level road speed 41mph
66kph
Max water speed 4.5mph
7.2kph
Max trench 100"
250cm
Max grade 60%
Max vertical obstacle 36"
91cm
Min turning diameter Pivot
Max fording depth Floats Cruising range ~300mi, roads
~480km, roads


The M2 Bradley was the United States's infantry fighting vehicle. Its two-man turret was offset to the right to maximize the room in the passenger compartment, which held six dismounts. Two infantrymen sat to the left of the turret, one facing forward and the other to the rear. The infantry squad gained access to the vehicle through a large rear ramp which had an emergency door in the left side. Vision for the troops was through three periscopes placed between the rear ramp and the cargo hatch just behind the turret as well as two periscopes on each side of the hull above the side firing ports. The infantry were provided with firing ports through which they could fire the 5.56mm M231 fully-automatic firing port weapon. The five stowage racks for the TOW missile reloads could also hold Dragon anti-tank missiles. In order to float, it was necessary to erect the trim vane and a large water barrier around the vehicle. The hull vertical sides and rear armor consisted of two .25" (.64cm) steel plates one inch (2.5cm) apart and 3.5" (8.9cm) away from the aluminum armor. The hull top, bottom, and front consisted of 5083 aluminum armor, and .375" (.953cm) steel armor was added to the front third of the hull bottom to increase mine protection. Two four-tube smoke grenade launchers are mounted on either side of the turret front. The 25mm chain gun could fire single shots, or at rates of 100 or 200 rounds per minute, and it was equipped with a dual feed mechanism that allowed the gunner to switch between high-explosive and armor-piercing ammunition automatically.

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Infantry Fighting Vehicle M2A1 Bradley1-6
M2A1: General
Date of first acceptance 1987 Total acceptances 1371 M2A1 and M3A1
Manufacturer FMC Corp. Crew
10 men:
  • Commander in turret
  • Gunner in turret
  • Driver in hull left front
  • 7 passengers
M2A1: Dimensions
Combat weight 50,261lbs
22,798kg
Height over commander's hatch 117"
297cm
Length 254"
645cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 126"
320cm
Tread 96"
240cm
Ground clearance 18"
46cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 7.8psi
.55kg/cm²
M2A1: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation Max elevation rate
25mm Chain Gun M242 Bushmaster Turret 900 rounds
(300 ready)
360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +57° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
7.62mm M240C MG Coaxial to 25mm gun 2200 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +57° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
Dual TOW missile launcher Turret 5 TOW 2 missiles + 2 in turret 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +29° to -19°
(electric)
15°/sec
Stabilizer
Azimuth and elevation
Night vision
Thermal
M2A1: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Steel, 5083 aluminum, and 7039 aluminum armor
Turret
Steel, 5083 aluminum, and 7039 aluminum armor
M2A1: Automotive
Engine Cummins VTA-903T; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, vee, turbosupercharged diesel
Horsepower Gross: 500@2600 rpm Torque Gross: 1025 ft-lb@2350rpm Fuel capacity 197gal
746L
Transmission General Electric HMPT-500 hydromechanical, automatic range selection
Steering Hydrostatic, steering yoke
Brakes Multiple plate, oil cooled
M2A1: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 6 individually sprung dual/track 1 dual/track, 2 single/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
11-tooth front drive Dual adjustable at rear of track On first 3 and last road wheels/track
M2A1: Track
Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad
Width 21"
53cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track Left side: 84
Right side: 82
Ground contact length 154"
391cm
M2A1: Performance
Max level road speed 41mph
66kph
Max water speed 4.5mph
7.2kph
Max trench 100"
250cm
Max grade 60%
Max vertical obstacle 36"
91cm
Min turning diameter Pivot
Max fording depth Floats Cruising range ~300mi, roads
~480km, roads


In May 1986 a gas particulate NBC filtration system was introduced to the Bradley in which the commander, gunner, and driver wore masks connected to a central filter in the vehicle. The infantry squad made do with masks and filters built into their own MOPP suits. M2A1 also fired the new TOW 2 missiles, however the orignal TOW missiles could still be used with the M2A1's launchers. The seventh infantryman was added just behind the center of the turret. When the Bradley was upgraded with both the TOW 2 system and the gas particulate filtration system, it was known as M2A1. The M2A1 upgrades were retrofitted to many Bradleys produced previously.

The various versions of the TOW missile are as follows: BGM-71A was the basic version with a 5" (13cm) diameter warhead. BGM-71C ITOW (Improved TOW) used an improved 5" (13cm) warhead and a standoff probe which allowed the shaped charge penetrator to assume a more efficient shape before it struck the target. ITOW also had an extended range of 3750m (2.33mi) compared to TOW's 3000m (1.86mi) range. BGM-71D TOW 2 has a 6" (15cm) diameter warhead, and retained a standoff probe. BGM-71E TOW 2A introduced a precursor charge in the standoff probe to defeat explosive reactive armor. BGM-71F TOW 2B is a top-attack weapon that defeats its targets with two explosively-formed projectiles that penetrate the roof of armored vehicles. TOW 2B lacks a standoff probe.


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Infantry Fighting Vehicle M2A2 Bradley1-6
M2A2: General
Total acceptances 3053 M2A2 and M3A2
Manufacturer United Defense, L.P. Crew
9 men:
  • Commander in turret
  • Gunner in turret
  • Driver in hull left front
  • 6 passengers
M2A2: Dimensions
Combat weight ~60,000lbs
27,000kg
Height over commander's hatch 117"
297cm
Length 258"
655cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 129"
328cm
Tread 96"
240cm
Ground clearance 18"
46cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 9.3psi
.65kg/cm²
M2A2: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation Max elevation rate
25mm Chain Gun M242 Bushmaster Turret 900 rounds
(300 ready)
360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +57° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
7.62mm M240C MG Coaxial to 25mm gun 2200 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +57° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
Dual TOW missile launcher Turret 5 TOW 2 missiles + 2 in launcher 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +29° to -19°
(electric)
15°/sec
Stabilizer
Azimuth and elevation
Night vision
Thermal
M2A2: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Steel and 5083 aluminum armor
Turret
Steel, 5083 aluminum, and 7039 aluminum armor
M2A2: Automotive
Engine Cummins VTA-903T; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, vee, turbosupercharged diesel
Horsepower Gross: 600@2600 rpm Torque Gross: 1225 ft-lb@2350rpm Fuel capacity 175gal
662L
Transmission General Electric HMPT-500-3 or HMPT-500-3EC hydromechanical, automatic range selection
Steering Hydrostatic, steering yoke
Brakes Multiple plate, oil cooled
M2A2: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 6 individually sprung dual/track 1 dual/track, 2 single/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
11-tooth front drive Dual adjustable at rear of track On first 3 and last road wheels/track
M2A2: Track
Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad
Width 21"
53cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track Left side: 84
Right side: 82
Ground contact length 154"
391cm
M2A2: Performance
Max level road speed 35mph
56kph
Max water speed 4.0mph
6.4kph
Max trench 84"
210cm
Max grade 60%
Max vertical obstacle 30"
76cm
Min turning diameter Pivot
Max fording depth Floats Cruising range ~250mi, roads
~400km, roads


M2A2 introduced heavier armor to the M2 line. The trim vane was deleted and replaced with steel applique armor. This armor was also added to the vertical hull sides and bottom, and fittings on this applique armor allowed for the attachment of passive or explosive reactive armor tiles. The armor tiles added ~6000lbs (2700kg) to the vehicle's weight, 13" (33cm) to its width, and another .9psi (.06kg/cm²) to its ground pressure. Spaced laminate armor was installed to the hull rear and spaced laminate track skirts protected the lower hull. The infantry firing ports in the hull sides were covered by the new applique armor, however the two in the rear ramp were retained. The protective cover was omitted from the M240C machine gun and a semicircular shield was attached to the turret rear to add more stowage space as well as act as spaced armor. Kevlar spall liners were added to critical areas. One of the infantrymen in the M2A2, the man seated directly behind the driver, was omitted. With the deletion of that man, the periscope at that position was removed as well. Wire cutters were added in front of the driver's position, and a cover was placed over the periscopes in his hatch. A maintenance stand was stowed on the hull left side. This was used when working on the engine since the M2A2 was built without a trim vane, which had previously provided a handy place to stand. The M2A2 also featured new headlight clusters. The US Army is converting M2s and M2A1s to M2A2 standard.

After live firing testing, the seating and stowage arrengements of the Bradley were redrawn. The infantry squad was increased again to seven men, six of which sat facing each other on two 3-man benches in the passenger compartment. The seventh man sat just behind the driver like in the M2 or M2A1 seating arrangements. The Javelin anti-tank missile replaced the earlier Dragon in the M2A2 restow, and five TOWs or three TOWs and two Javelins could be carried.

After Operation Desert Storm, the M2A2 was upgraded again with the addition of an eye-safe carbon dioxide laser rangefinder, global positioning system and compass, combat identification system, missile countermeasure device, and thermal viewer for the driver. The 1423 -A2 Bradleys brought up to this standard were referred to as -A2ODS.


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Infantry Fighting Vehicle M2A3 Bradley1,5-7
M2A3: General
Date of first acceptance April 2000 Total acceptances 1602 M2A3 and M3A3
Manufacturer United Defense, L.P. Crew
10 men:
  • Commander in turret
  • Gunner in turret
  • Driver in hull left front
  • 7 passengers
M2A3: Dimensions
Combat weight ~61,000lbs
~28,000kg
Height over commander's hatch 117"
297cm
Length 258"
655cm
Gun overhang forward 0"
Width 129"
cm
Tread 96"
240cm
Ground clearance 18"
46cm
Ground pressure, zero penetration 9.4psi
.66kg/cm²
M2A3: Armament
Type Mount Ammunition Traverse Max traverse rate Elevation Max elevation rate
25mm Chain Gun M242 Bushmaster Turret 900 rounds
(300 ready)
360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +57° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
7.62mm M240C MG Coaxial to 25mm gun 2200 rounds 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +57° to -9°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec
Dual TOW missile launcher Turret 5 TOW 2 missiles + 2 in launcher 360°
(manual and electric)
60°/sec +29° to -19°
(electric)
15°/sec
Rangefinder
Laser
Stabilizer
Azimuth and elevation
Night vision
Thermal
M2A3: Armor
Assembly
Welding
Hull
Steel and 5083 aluminum armor
Turret
Steel, 5083 aluminum, and 7039 aluminum armor
M2A3: Automotive
Engine Cummins VTA-903T; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, vee, turbosupercharged diesel
Horsepower Gross: 600@2600 rpm Torque Gross: 1225 ft-lb@2350rpm Fuel capacity 175gal
662L
Transmission General Electric HMPT-500-3 or HMPT-500-3EC hydromechanical, automatic range selection
Steering Hydrostatic, steering yoke
Brakes Multiple plate, oil cooled
M2A3: Suspension
Type Road wheels Track return rollers
Torsion bar 6 individually sprung dual/track 1 dual/track, 2 single/track
Drive sprockets Idlers Shock absorbers
11-tooth front drive Dual adjustable at rear of track On first 3 and last road wheels/track
M2A3: Track
Center guide, single pin, steel with detachable rubber pad
Width 21"
53cm
Pitch 6"
15cm
Shoes/track Left side: 84
Right side: 82
Ground contact length 154"
391cm
M2A3: Performance
Max level road speed 35mph
56kph
Max water speed 4.0mph
6.4kph
Max trench 84"
210cm
Max grade 60%
Max vertical obstacle 30"
76cm
Min turning diameter Pivot
Max fording depth Floats Cruising range ~250mi, roads
~400km, roads


The M2A3 moved into the digital age with a 1553 databus, central processing unit, and information displays for the vehicle commander and squad leader. The M2A3 became compatible with the intervehicular communication system of the M1A2 Abrams tank and AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. The commander was provided with an independent thermal viewer, and a new integrated sight unit called the Improved Bradley Acquisition System (IBAS) allowed automatic gun adjustments, automatic boresighting, and tracking of dual targets. The CITV and integrated sight are both second-generation FLIR systems. The roof was reinforced with titanium armor. M2A3s are being converted from M2A2s.

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References

  1. Hunnicutt, R.P. Bradley: A History of American Fighting and Support Vehicles. Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1999.
    Reprinted with permission from Bradley, R.P. Hunnicutt ©1999, available from Presidio Press, 505B San Martin Drive, Suite 160, Navato, CA 94945.

  2. FM 23-1 Bradley Gunnery. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 18 Mar 1996.

  3. Crismon, Fred W. U.S. Military Tracked Vehicles. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1992.

  4. Foss, Chris. Modern Tanks. Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995.

  5. Hogg, Ian V. The Greenhill Armoured Fighting Vehicles Data Book. London: Greenhill Books, 2000.

  6. Federation of American Scientists. "M2A3 and M3A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems (BFVS)." DOD 101. 5 May 2000. 22 Jun 2001 <http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m2.htm>. DOD 101

  7. Net Resources International. "Army Technology - Bradley M2/M3 - Tracked Armoured Fighting Vehicles." Army Technology. 22 Jun 2001 <http://www.army-technology.com/projects/bradley/index.html>.



Last updated 25 Mar 2014.

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