M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
The M113A1 is a lightly armored full tracked air transportable personnel carrier designed to carry personnel and certain types of cargo. The M113-family was developed the from M59 and M75 which were designed by FMC (Food Machinery Corp.) in the late 1950´s. The vehicle is capable of: amphibious operations in streams and lakes; extended cross country travel over rough terrain; and high speed operation on improved roads and highways.
The M113 Family includes approximately 12 variants of light armored tracked vehicles used in a variety of combat and combat support roles. Total density exceeds 28,000. Today's M113 Family of Vehicles is composed of a mix of derivative systems consisting of the A1, A2, and A3 configurations. The current fleet includes: M113A2; M113A3; M106A2; M1064; M1064A3; M548A1; M548A3; M577A2; M577A3; M730A2; M901A1; M981; M1068; M1068A3; M1059; and M1059A3. Over the next 10-15 years, the majority of these systems will be converted to the A3 configuration.
Following the shock of the North Korean tanks in the summer of 1950, intensive efforts were devoted to developing tanks. In a remarkably short period, the Army produced the M41, M47, and M48 tanks, and it soon produced the M59 armored personnel carrier and began developing the APC M113. Such vehicles and units were considered ideal for operating on the atomic battlefield and for conducting a rapid and violent strike against a numerically superior enemy.
A program to produce ground and air vehicles with the necessary battlefield mobility led to the development of armored personnel carriers, such as the M113 with aluminum armor, that could move troops rapidly to the scene of operations while providing greater protection for the individual Soldier. Since highways and bridges might be damaged or destroyed, dual-capability amphibious vehicles that could travel on rough terrain and swim across rivers and swamps freed the fighting units from total dependence upon roads.
One of the major changes under the ROAD concept was the creation of mechanized infantry units of division, brigade and battalion size. Under this concept, mechanized units mounted their fighting elements and supporting weapons in fully tracked, lightly armored vehicles (the M113 armored personnel carrier). The vehicles provided a high degree of cross-country mobility, protection from small-arms and fragmentation, and substantial protection from the effects of nuclear weapons.
Since their initial introduction in 1960, M113-based systems have entered service in more than 50 countries. The systems have been modified into more than 40 identified specific variants, with many times that number of minor field modifications. Many of these modifications have been developed by foreign governments to meet their specific national requirements. While some older M113 derivatives are being retired and removed from selected inventories, other FOV members are being upgraded, reconfigured, and introduced as entirely new systems.
More than 80,000 M113 Family of Vehicle (FOV) systems have been produced. New M113 FOV systems are being built while existing chassis are being upgraded to modern configurations.
The M113 APC was the first modern "battle taxi"; developed to transport infantry forces on the mechanized battlefield. It is fitted with a 2 stroke six cylinder Detroit diesel providing power through a 3 speed automatic gearbox and steering differential. The main armament is a single .50 Cal heavy barrel machine gun, and the secondary armament is a single .30 Cal machine gun. The M113 is built of aircraft quality aluminum which allows it to possess some of the same strengths as steel at a much lighter weight. This distinct weight advantage allows the M113 to utilize a relatively small engine to power the vehicle, as well as carry a large payload cross-country. The vehicle is capable of "swimming" bodies of water.
The vehicle is not mission capable if any one track shoe is damaged. If the M113 loses a track, breaks a track shoe or the vehicle throws a track, extreme caution must be exercised in maintaining control. The driver must immediately release the accelerator and let the vehicle coast to a stop. Applying braking action, i.e. brake pedal, laterals, pivot or any type of steering controls causes the vehicle to pull to the active or good track and could result in a roll-over. If it is absolutely necessary, the driver may apply braking action only, and only if the vehicle is approaching a ravine, a cliff, or if other catastrophic outcome, probably resulting in fatalities. When roll-over is imminent; it is safer to stay in the vehicle than to try to get out while the vehicle is still moving. Crew members may receive slight injuries from being thrown against metal parts, but if they try to leave the vehicle, it may roll over and crush them. Once the vehicle stops moving, the crew should get out as fast as possible because spilled fuel and oil may catch on fire. The first thing the driver should do in such an emergency is shut off the engine and turn off the master switch to minimize the fire hazard.
Initially nick-named "The Green Dragon" by the enemy, the M113 served in all areas of Vietnam throughout the war and was to become one of the most successful armored vehicles of all time. Unlike many other Army vehicles, the M133 does not appear to have acquired an official name or even a widely used nickname. Some advocates have indicated that the M113 is also nicknamed the "Gavin", after an Army general who was influential in the development of the M113 in the 1950s. This is not however, an official designation, and there is some question about the extent to which actual users of the system use this name. A similar point arises with respect to the M8 AGS, which some unofficially call the Buford, despite this also being an unofficial naming. One observer wrote that "In more than 30 years working in the defense industry, I have never, never heard anybody use the name "Gavin" for the M-113. Not in the US nor in any of the many countries that use the vehicle. Not in the military forces, not in the companies that build and equip it, not in the groups that retrofit and repair it. This usage appears not only to be "unofficial", it is entirely fictional and I believe that you may have been the victim of a hoax or deliberate disinformation."
The M113 was eventually supplanted by the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which had been in the development process since 1964. The Army awarded the Food Machinery Corporation of San Jose, California, a 29.2-million-dollar development contract in the fall of 1972, but production delays and other deficiencies caused considerable criticism of the new vehicle within DOD. The Army believed that the Bradley, initially known as the MICV, was essential so the Army could adopt an armor doctrine that was similar to German doctrine and appropriate to a mechanized battlefield characterized by highly lethal modern weapons and numerical superiority of the enemy. On such a battlefield, the Army would require its infantry to support tank-led combat teams by: long-range suppression of enemy anti-tank weapons, or suppression of the same enemy capability while the MICV is moving cross-country with tanks, or delivery of a high volume of close-in overwatching suppressive fire in support of dismounting infantry, and be able to defeat the Soviet BMP beyond the range of its 73mm gun, and be able to fire an ATGM from the deck, and protect against automatic weapons fire. The Army's current armored personnel carrier, the M113, could not do these things.
Tomorrow's track combat vehicles will need to transit battlefields quicker, carry heavier loads, provide crew and equipment with increased protection and meet the digitization requirements of Force XXI and the Army After Next. Government and industry planners are looking at a number of initiatives to help insure these future capabilities in the M113A3 family of vehicles systems. The force structure for 21st century armored forces will keep much of the existing track combat vehicle fleet that are in the Army today. The challenge for tomorrow's Army will involve making the best use of future funding to improve capabilities and reduce limitations of the current vehicle inventory.
Due to its durability, low cost, and light weight, the M113 design is an ideal starting point for development of future light weight vehicles. Concepts ranging from rear drive M113 vehicles, to composite hulled turreted vehicles, to low observable alternatives are all possible given the baseline M113 chassis and components. Recent M113 concepts for the future include: the XM1108 Universal Carrier, the M113A3 High Mobility System, and the M577A3 "Stretch". These concepts, as well as other ongoing upgrade initiatives, provide the foundation for future modernization and the continued viability and utility of M113-based systems.
Regardless of the need and the timeframe involved, these concepts provide an effective, viable alternative to a new start production program for the chassis. This allows program funding to concentrate on maturing the target acquisition, survivability, low observable, and communications technologies needed.
In late 2001, as part of the FY '03-'07 Five Year Defense Program's Program Objective Memorandum [POM], the Army cancelled a total of 19 programs, including the Raytheon Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wireless Fire and Forget missile, the BAE Systems Advanced Tactical Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM), the General Dynamics Hydra rocket, the United Defense, L.P. M113 armored personnel carrier recapitalization, and the Tank Extended-Range Munition (TERM).
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