Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|General Characteristics (M2 Bradley)|
|Length:||21 ft 2 in (6.55 m)|
|Width:||11.83 ft (3.6 m)|
|Height:||11.8 ft (3.59 m)|
|Weight:||50,000 lb (22.7 t) unloaded; 67,000 lb (30.4 t) loaded|
|Speed:||Road: 38 mph (66 km/h)|
Water: 7.2 km/h
|Range:||250 miles (483 km)|
|Primary armament:||25 mm Chain Gun |
TOW Anti-Tank Missile
|Secondary armament:||7.62 mm machine gun|
|Power plant:||600 hp (447 kW) diesel engine|
|Crew:||3 + (6 passengers)|
The Bradley, named after General Omar Bradley because of his heroic actions during World War II, is a replacement for the M113 family of APCs and consists of two types of vehicles, the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. Since both vehicles are based on the same chassis they differ in only some details. The M2 carries a crew of three and a six man infantry squad. The M3 on the other hand carries only a two man scout team and additional radios, TOW and Dragon or Javelin missiles.
The troubled development history of the Bradley is described in Airforce Lt. Col. James Burton's 1993 book (James G. Burton, The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press), which was adapted for the 1998 film The Pentagon Wars starring Kelsey Grammer and Cary Elwes. 
The Bradley AFV was designed largely to trump the BMP-3, and to serve as both a APC and Medium tank. Specifically it was designed in response to the higher cruising speed of the Abrams. The older M113 APC could not keep up. The 25mm cannon fires up to 200 rounds per minute, and is accurate up to 2.5km. The twin TOW missile launchers are capable to destroying any tank at a maximum range of 3750m. Its cross country capability is superb, as during its design phase, a main objective was to keep it up to speed with the M1 Abrams main battle tank. The vehicle is of aluminum construction, one of the points used by critics to deride the vehicle. Aluminum armor tends to vaporize in the face of HEAT warheads, and coupled with the prodigious storage of ammunition in the vehicle, can prove to be undoing for its survivability.
The Bradley series has been widely modified. Its chassis is the basis for the M270 Multiple-Launch-Rocket-System, a battlefield command post, and an air defense vehicle. Armed with the Stinger SAM, the M6 "Linebacker" Bradley Air Defense Vehicle possesses a unique role in the US Army, providing highly mobile air defense at the front line.
- M2A0 - First production model.
- M2A1 - TOW 2 missile system
- M2A2 - enhanced command and control.
The same variants are also found in the M3 scout vehicle series.
The Bradley is equipped with the M242 25 mm chain gun as its main weapon. It also has a M240C machine gun mounted coaxially. For engaging heavier targets (such as when acting in an anti-tank fashion), the Bradley has a TOW II missile system onboard.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom the Bradley has proved somewhat vulnerable to mobility kills through IED and mass RPG attacks, but casualties have been light - the doctrine being to allow the crew to escape at the expense of the vehicle.
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