Logistics: December 22, 2003


The U.S. Army's M-2 Bradley fighting vehicle has proved to be the workhorse of the Iraq campaign. But that came at a cost that was not anticipated. Like most armored vehicles, the Bradley runs on metal tracks that have rubber pads attached to save wear and tear on roads and give better traction. Naturally, the rubber pads, as well as the entire track, wears out. Normally, a heavily used Bradley might need a new set of tracks once a year. There are nearly 700 Bradley's in Iraq, and many are in need of new tracks every few months. A set of tracks is normally good for 1,300-1,600 kilometers of travel. To keep the Bradley's in Iraq supplied with replacement tracks, the army's only depot that refurbishes worn tracks (about 80 percent of the track is reused) has had to go from one shift a day, five days a week, to 24/7 production. Even at that, stocks world wide are being depleted. That's one reason for the rush to get more armored Humvees over to Iraq. These don't have tracks, and are nearly as resistant to Iraqi attacks as the Bradley's are. Actually, in many cases, the Bradley's are used in low risk situations because they are the only combat vehicle available. But unless Bradley use in Iraq can be reduced, the availability of the other 5,500 Bradleys in US service will be severely affected. With all the replacement tracks going to Iraq, there will be none for Bradley's anywhere else.


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