Armor: November 6, 2004

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The U.S. Army has 6,712 M-2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, but only needs about half that number (assuming 62 M-2s for each of 48 new unit of action brigades.) With the Cold War over, fewer, but more capable, armored vehicles are more useful. The current vehicle, the M-2A2, dates from the early 1990s. The latest version, the M-2A3, is all digital. That means it can be plugged into the armys battlefield Internet. New equipment includes a navigation system, better sensors (that can see at night and through smoke and fog), lots of computers, improved 25mm cannon and a complete refurb for the vehicle. The M-2A3s are built to last until 2030, so the cost (over a million dollars per vehicle), can be justified. But money is tight, and many M-2A2 vehicles were be partially upgraded, just giving the new electronic gear they need to operate with true M-2A3 grade vehicles (as well as M-1 tanks and other troops upgraded to battlefield Internet standards.)

 


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