GEAR & TECH

Here's how the Army introduced the Bradley

(Photo by Mollie Miller, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle has been around for a long time. It's become a mainstay of the United States Army, although it hasn't had quite as much export success as the M1 Abrams. Still, the Bradley is much beloved by the military community.

In the early 80s, however, when the Bradley was a spry, new armored fighting vehicle, it had more than its fair share of critics.


By now, many of us are very familiar with this vehicle. There's the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and the M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV). Both systems come with a 25mm Bushmaster chain gun, an M240 7.62mm machine gun, and the ability to launch the BGM-71 TOW missile.

These two M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting vehicles combined for 3,000 rounds of 25mm ammo, 24 TOW missiles, and four cavalry scouts.

(US Army photo by SGT Randall M. Yackiel)

The big difference between the IFV and the CFV is how much ammo they carry. The M2 Bradley IFV carries 900 rounds for the Bushmaster and a total of seven TOW missiles. The M3, however, carries 1,500 rounds for the chain gun and 12 TOWs. The trade-off here is in the number of grunts each vehicle can carry in addition to its three-man crew. The IFV carries up to eight additional troops while the CFV has room for two cavalry scouts.

Despite its impressive firepower, in the 1980s, the Bradley got trashed in the media. US News and World Report listed it among the "worst weapons" in the American arsenal. Others pronounced the Bradley as a coffin, "ready to burn." Many wanted the Army to stick with the simple M113. Now, the M113 wasn't a bad vehicle, but it lacked firepower.

The latest Bradley IFVs feature many improvements, but still pack a 25mm Bushmaster and the TOW missile.

(US Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Johancharles Van Boers)

As we all know, Desert Storm proved the Bradley had the stuff for the troops. It performed well, which quieted critics and, since then, it's seen a number of improvements. Despite these upgrades, however, the Army has plans for a replacement.

But before the Army introduces a new vehicle, check out how the Bradley was introduced to the United States and our troops in the video below!