M578 Light Armored Recovery Vehicle [VTR]
The M578 is a fully armored heavy recovery vehicle with an armored independently-operated cab and crane mounted at the rear of the hull near the rear of the vehicle. The hull, power plant, and running gear are similar to those of the M110A2 self-propelled Howitzer. It is used to recover mechanized equipment which has been bogged down, turned over, or become so disabled it can't be towed readily. It is also used by maintenance units for general repair and maintenance at repair yards or depots. The crane has a 30,000 lb., capacity, and it is outfitted with tools and equipment to be used on a daily basis. It has a crew of three men and weighs 54,000 lbs. Power is provided by a Detroit Diesel V-8 engine with 405 hp.
The M107 self propelled 175 mm gun and the M110 self propelled 8in (203 mm) howitzer were both characterized by rapid barrel wear and the need to be able to change the barrels frequently and simply. The US Army developed a crane for this purpose based on the tracked vehicle as the guns themselves. It has a turret with a boom rather than a gun barrel, and a winch which gave it a recovery as well as a lifting potential. This equipment, the M578, was issued to those artillery units using the guns during the 1970s. When the guns were withdrawn from service the M578 was redesignated a Light Armored Recovery Vehicle [VTR], used to recover damaged vehicles from the battlefield. The hydraulic crane is housed in a turret mounted at the rear of the chassis. A stabilizing spade hydraulically lowers from the rear. Used in both Vietnam war and Desert Storm.
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