Armor: February 7, 2001


The US Army is steadily converting its M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles into ODS (Operation Desert Storm) Variants. This upgrade, based on lessons of Operation Desert Storm, uses off-the-shelf technology. This includes an eye-safe laser rangefinder, which improves accuracy when calling in artillery fire on enemy positions. Also included is an improved battlefield identification system and a missile countermeasure device. Each ODS variant vehicle will eventually receive the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below system to enhance situational awareness. The Bradley M2A3 is the next step, and will arrive at the 1st Cavalry Division this summer. It will be the first version of the Bradley to be the technological equal of the M1 Abrams tank. The M2A3 is designed to be more efficient on the battlefield by allowing the crew to find and destroy targets more quickly. The primary improvement is to add a second sight (for the commander) allowing it to use hunter-killer tactics (in which the commander looks for a new target while the gunner kills the one previously found). The Bradley A3 will have second generation forward-looking infrared. An improved target acquisition system ensures that the first burst of 25mm chaingun fire will fall on the target, eliminating the current need for the gunner to fire a ranging burst and then adjust his second burst onto the target.Stephen V Cole


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