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XM800 Armored Reconnaissance Scout Vehicle

The armored reconnaissance scout vehicle (XM800) project also advanced during 1972. On 22 May 1972 the Food Machinery Corporation and Lockheed Missiles and Space Company had been awarded contracts respectively for design and fabrication of 4-tracked and 4-wheeled prototype versions. As the year closed, both contractors had their first vehicle in operation and being tested. The additional vehicles were to be delivered to the Army in November 1973 for competitive testing.

The XM800 Armored Reconnaissance Scout Vehicle produced two reconnaissance vehicles. One had been built by Lockheed and the other by FMC. General DePuy questioned the scout vehicle on two points: one, was it survivable; and two, did it have an adequate crew size. The general asked for a study to take place and had General Starry head the project. There was some concern in the Army that General Starry and General DePuy had made up their minds to terminate the XM800s regardless of the tests results.

The Army conducted the tests, and as it came out in the test report: the vehicles that were being tested were not any better - in fact, in some cases worse - than the current M113. The vehicles did not have better mobility; they couldn't haul or take care of the amount of equipment which was needed by the scouts. To buy that vehicle would have really been a wrong thing to do with the taxpayers' dollars, and General Starry reccommended that the Army cancel that program.

The decision went all the way to the top because it was a political question as well as a tactical one. There were lots of dollars involved. Business was involved, especially for Lockheed who had already lost the competition to FMC, but FMC didn't have a lot to lose because they were going to win with the MICV or the XM800.

The Army went to the MICV, now called the Bradley, because the Army wanted the cavalry organization to be indistinguishable from our current armored division. In other words, when there was a light screening force, the Army wanted the enemy to see tanks and Bradleys, the same thing that he would see in a division -- so that he wouldn't know that he was running into a light cavalry force. That's part of cavalry's mission: to be an economy of force and to fool the other guy and make him think that there's something there that's really not there.

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Page last modified: 02-10-2012 19:01:17 ZULU