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XM701 Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle (MICV)

Between the establishment of the Armored Force on the eve of World War II and 1960, the Army developed and fielded four generations of armored personnel carriers. In accordance with wartime and postwar ideas of deployment of infantry in support of tank forces, these vehicles were designed for transport rather than combat, being lightly armored and armed only for self defense. The most notable of these was the M113 armored personnel carrier (APC). The preliminary concept drawings for the M113 were completed in 1956, with approval in late 1956 to seek competitive proposals forthe engineering development. In only 43 months, the winner, Food Machinery Company (FMC), delivered the first production vehicle.

Anticipated conditions of high-intensity armored warfare, possibly in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) conditions, called this concept into question. As early as 1958, an Infantry School study sought to define the characteristics of an infantry fighting vehicle with substantial armament and protection that would allow the armored infantry squad to fight from the vehicle, although no action was taken on the study’s recommendations.

The development of the Soviet BMP and the German Maxder caused the US to seek an alternative to the M113 battle taxi. The sixteen-year history of development of the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) can be characterized as one of continuing change and increasing complexity. The IFV began in 1963 as MICV-65 (Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle). The broad mission of MICV-65 and all subsequent vehicles was to provide the cavalry with close proximity infantry support.

In early 1964, the Department of the Army ordered a development effort for mechanized infantry combat vehicles (MICV), to include an interim vehicle, the MICV-65 (Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle-1965), and an objective vehicle, the MICV–70. The MICV specification demanded a vehicle capable of engaging in combat through organic weapons, as well as the weapons of the carried infantry team, while providing greater ballistic and NBC protection than the current M113 APC; the MICV was nonetheless required to retain the APC’s airportability, amphibious capability, and capacity to accommodate a rifle squad and its equipment in addition to the vehicle crew.

The MICV–65 effort produced a test-bed vehicle, the XM701, which largely employed existing components. The Army accepted the Pacific Car and Foundry XM701 design, based around many of the same components as the M109 and M110 family of self-propelled guns. The XM701 was found unsatisfactory because of its size and automotive performance. Testing was completed in 1966, but it was not accepted for service as it was deemed too slow, too heavy, and could not be airlifted in a C-141.

The Vietnam War and the resulting shortage of funds caused the cancellation of the MICV-'65 program. Continued pressure from Soviet mechanization and the proliferation of the BMP caused the US to resume its IFV program in 1968.

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Page last modified: 02-10-2012 19:01:18 ZULU