The US Army is tapping BAE Systems Land & Armaments in support of its Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). The $347 million fixed-price-incentive-fee contract
sees for the production of up to 473 Bradley M2A4 and M7A4 vehicles, and for the procurement of authorized stockage list spares, and additional packages for legacy component repair. Introduced in the 1980s during the Reagan defense build-up, the Bradleys
were a departure from the usual mold of lightly armed Armored Personnel Carriers. During Desert Storm the vehicles combination of firepower, mobility, and protection made them a valuable asset. The Bradleys’ high level of protection against anti-tank rockets has proven to be a significant plus, and operational readiness has reportedly exceeded 94%, during urban and cross-country missions that have covered more than 8 million miles. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of June 2019.
In the 1970s, middle eastern wars demonstrated that tanks without infantry screens were vulnerable to infantry with anti-tank missiles. Unfortunately, armored personnel carriers were easy prey for enemy tanks, and sometimes had trouble just keeping up with friendly tanks like America’s 60+ ton, 50+ mph M1 Abrams. In response, the Americans rethought the armored personnel carrier, taking a page from the Soviet book. They created a more heavily armored, faster “Infantry Fighting Vehicle” named after WW2 General Omar “the soldier’s general” Bradley, and gave it an offensive punch of its own. M2/M3 tracked, armored IFVs can carry infantry – but they also have 25mm Bushmaster cannons, networked targeting sensors, and even TOW anti-armor or Stinger anti-aircraft missiles at their disposal.
Even well-serviced vehicles must suffer the pangs of age and wear, however, and the pace of electronics breakthroughs is far faster than the Army’s vehicle replacement cycle. The US Army plans to keep its Bradley fleet for some time to come, and new technologies have made it wise to upgrade part of that fleet while renewing the vehicles. Hence the remanufacture program, which complements the restore-only RESET programs.
This free-to-view DII Spotlight article explains the differences between the Bradley variants involved, details the re-manufacture process, offers additional research sources, and covers associated contracts from FY 1999 to the present.