That the M981 is based on the M113A2 APC is immediately apparent. The external fuel tanks are mounted on the vehicle's rear, and the smoke grenade launchers are present on the front hull. The multitude of antennas attest to the amount of radio equipment necessary in the vehicle. The turret head is in the stowed position on this vehicle, pointed down and to the rear. The commander's periscope is visible just behind the forward antennta guard.
More details of the smoke grenade launchers and the T130E1 track are visible in this front view. The trim vane on this vehicle is the high-displacement type also found on the M163 VADS.
When stowed, the cheeks of the hammerhead rest on supports. The openings for the targeting and ranging devices are apparent in the front plate of the turret, and more antennas are visible on the other side of the vehicle. The entry door in the rear ramp is visible, as is the vision block in this door. Brackets for mounting telephone cable reels are visible below the taillights.
The targeting head was placed at the end of a pair of erector arms that were connected to the commander's cupola. The cupola mount for the M60 machine gun can be seen just behind the commander's periscope. The red handle is for external activiation of the vehicle's fire extinguishers.