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January 04, 2005

For those of you who have been suggesting...

...that we just send the M113s over to Iraq and quit worrying about up-armoring the HMMWVs... guess what?

We are.*

Perhaps more important, perhaps George Soros or Michael Moore could give this guy a hand. Someone should. Stanislav Petrov, I salute you, sir. Doing your true duty to your nation, not the reflexive one. I, too, was sitting in alert sites babysitting my battalion nukes during those dark days of 1983, when the NRAS (Nuclear Release Authentication System) messages weren't just training messages.

For those of you dropping in from Mudville - you might also be interested in this follow-up.

*If you can't get into the link - go to the extended post.

Miami Herald
January 4, 2005

U.S. Army Adding Armor To 'War Horse' Troop Carriers

To answer complaints about inadequately armored vehicles, the Army confirmed that it will armor two types of veteran war horse carriers and send them to Iraq.

By Joseph L. Galloway

WASHINGTON - The Army, beset with complaints that its troops are going into combat in inadequately armored Humvees, will send an older and less used class of armored personnel carriers to Iraq after spending $84 million to add armor to them.

These vehicles, both veteran war horses, are the M-113/A3 armored personnel carrier and the M-577 command post carrier. Both will be tougher and safer than newly armored Humvees.

Army officials who pushed hard over the past two years for getting the M-113 into duty in Iraq said it was more useful, cheaper and easier to transport than the Army's new wheeled Stryker armored vehicle, also in use in Iraq.

The Army and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld found themselves at the center of a firestorm last month over the pace of adding armor to the Humvee, a small transport vehicle that's been pressed into service in Iraq as a combat vehicle. Critics have charged that even with armor the Humvee is too easily destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.

An Army representative, who requested anonymity, said Monday that $84 million was being spent to add armor to 734 M-113/A3s and M-577s.

For the M-113s, that includes hardened steel side armor, a ''slat armor'' cage that bolts to the side armor and protects against rocket-propelled grenades, anti-mine armor on the bottom and a new transparent, bulletproof gun shield on the top that improves gunners' vision.

SLAT ARMOR

The M-577, nicknamed the ''high-top shoe'' for its tall, ungainly silhouette, will get only slat armor and anti-mine armor. Its high sides can't take the steel armor without making the vehicle unstable and even more liable to roll over.

The slat-type armor essentially is a metal cage designed to detonate RPGs before they breach the steel armor and the light aluminum wall. Similar slat armor has been added to the Stryker vehicle.

The armor kits will be produced in the United States, the Army representative said, and installed in Kuwait.

The representative said the M-113 upgrade was requested by Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the ground commander in Iraq, and approved by Gen. George Casey, the commander of multinational forces in Iraq.

The M-113 typically carries a driver, a commander and 11 infantry soldiers. It can be fitted with a .50-caliber machine gun or a MK-19 40mm grenade launcher.

NEWER, IMPROVED

The M-113/A3 version, introduced in 1987, has a bigger turbo-charged diesel engine, an improved transmission, steering and braking package, and inside liners to suppress spall, the superheated molten metal produced by RPG and tank-round hits. It has a range of 300 miles and a road speed of more than 40 mph. It also is amphibious.

More than 80,000 M-113s in 28 configurations have been manufactured since 1960.

At 13 tons, the M-113 is much easier to transport than the behemoth M1A2 Abrams tank or Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

John | Permalink | Comments (12) | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military | Tanks and AFVs
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