M2A2ODS-E Engineer Bradley Fighting Vehicle (EBFV)
During FY97, the Commandant of the United States Army Engineer Center (USAEC), made the determination to equip the Engineer Force with a more mobile, highly survivable platform. This platform would increase the capabilities of all Engineers on the battlefield with increased firepower and a potential for technological enhancements. Hence the decision to equip the Engineer Force in M2 Bradleys. The proposal was approved at TRADOC on 23 January 1998 and forwarded to the Department of the Army.
Typically an engineer company is attached to support a task force. The company consists of two engineer platoons and an assault and obstacle (A&O) platoon. The task force and company team commanders will task organize engineer assets to best accomplish their assigned mission. Each engineer platoon is organized into three engineer squads and a headquarters section. It is equipped with four M113 or M2A2ODS-E, engineer Bradley fighting vehicle (EBFV), and an armored combat earthmover (ACE). If necessary, the engineer platoon may be reinforced with elements from the engineer company's A&O platoon.
The Bradley Engineer Fighting Vehicle (BEFV) is not referred to as a squad vehicle. Instead, the engineer Bradley is called the Engineer-Bradley Fighting Vehicle (E-BFV). This is in keeping with today's offensively oriented doctrine where the engineer platoon, not the squad, is employed as the basic breach/reduction unit. This is also true of countermobility operations which are more focused on emplacement of scatterable minefields. The engineer platoon sites and marks these obstacles. The reduction of the engineer platoon from three to two squads was not precipitated by the transition to Bradleys. The reduction in squads is the result of a previously implemented MTOE change and is not linked to Bradley fielding.
The turret and main gun of the Bradley have proven to be extremely valuable to combat engineers and have provided an increase in capability and versatility. Engineers in M113s rely on maneuver forces to protect them, which often drains the already stretched firepower of infantry and armor forces. Bradley Engineers can better protect themselves during movement and provide their own local protection while breaching and reducing obstacles. Thus, the Bradley Engineer Company and Battalion is better suited to perform as a breach force during battalion and brigade deliberate breaches.
The most noticeable difference between the M113 and the E-BFV is the loss of the M105 trailer. Elimination of the M105 trailer reduces the ability to haul Class IV and Class V supplies, both mission and basic loads, and specifically mines. With the Conservative Heavy Division (CHD), however, hauling capability is not as big a concern as before because the CHD is not designed to conduct a deliberate defense without significant assistance from Corps. On the ground, the emphasis of the divisional engineer's counter-mobility is shifted from conventional minefields to scatterable minefields. The Volcano systems in an engineer company can more than make up for this deficiency in a hasty defense, providing the control supply rate (CSR) for Volcano reloads supports it.
There is no means for carrying the modular pack mine system (MOPMS) on or in the E-BFV. Carrying MOPMS on or in the E-BFV, especially a squad vehicle, is a problem. If MOPMS is carried inside the E-BFV, on the floor, there is no room for the squad to ride. A means to carry the MOPMS on the Bradley's exterior should be developed. A suggestion is to install a mounting bracket on the troop hatch. This bracket should not be used as a permanent storage location, but rather as a means for moving the MOPMS from the mine dump or Class IV/V point to the mission site.
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