M548A3 Cargo Carrier
The M548A3 is an unarmored full-tracked vehicle that provides transportation of ammunition and general cargo to forward areas in support of field units. The vehicle is capable of carrying a six-ton payload and four men sitting abreast in its cab. This supply vehicle is based on the same chassis as the M113 family of armored personnel carriers. This unit is unarmored and it's mission was to supply artillery units with ammunition. The large rear door provides easy loading of material. The tracked chassis provides the ultimate cross country and amphibious capabilities. It is operated by a driver and an assistant.
The rear cargo deck accommodates the transport of troops and/or materiel. The M548A3 is transportable in C130 and C141 aircraft, will ford water up to 40 inches deep and travels easily over rough terrain and highways. The 7.62mm or .50 caliber machine gun can be mounted over the cab and operated from a hatch in the cab roof.
At first look, the M548 is big and it is especially wide. Despite this, it gets around off highway fairly well. The track system makes it maneuverable. The unit is generally durable, especially when fitted with a heavy duty bumper and some limb risers as illustrated in the REC drawings. The underbelly has no vulnerable parts. Lastly, the M548 has plenty of power. The Detroit Diesel 6 cylinder, 212 hp engine provides more than enough to move the M548 with a heavy payload. The unit can push over smaller trees and has plenty of ground clearance to climb over them. The unusual width does make traveling two-track roads a little more difficult. All in all, it performs well off the road.
Much of the initial justification for upgrading the M548 vehicles to A3 configuration stems from "Volcano" mine dispensing kit. The "Volcano" is a special purpose kit which is found in U.S. Army engineer units. The kits are installed and removed by operators.
Incorporation of the RISE powerpack in the M548 was initiated on the depot rebuilt line in 1994 as M548A1s were converted to M548A3s. The powerpack, a 275 HP, turbocharged 6V53T Detroit Diesel engine coupled to a 4-speed X200-4 Allison hydrostatic steer transmission increases fuel economy, acceleration, hill climbing speed, and braking capabilities and allows the vehicle to maintain speed through corners by accelerating the outer track rather than braking the inner track. This increase in horsepower provides mobility comparable to currently fielded vehicles such as the M1 tank and M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Steering is improved with an automotive-type steering yoke and foot brake arrangement that improves driver control, lessens fatigue and simplifies driver training. The M548A3 is also equipped with an NBC protective face mask system.
Other M548A3 changes could include:
* Water/Ration Heater
* PLGR Brackets
* Relocation of Decontamination Apparatus
* Improved Cold Start Kit
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