What Is the Bradley Fighting Vehicle?

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The White House announced on Thursday that the Pentagon would be providing Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Kyiv, which offer Ukrainian soldiers greater protection and firepower than any of the trucks or armored personnel carriers the West has sent to date.

Although President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has long asked for U.S.-made tanks, the White House has resisted sending them — citing the amount of time required to train soldiers to employ them in combat and also to maintain and repair them.

Here’s a closer look at the Bradley, which offers a middle ground between the capabilities of a main battle tank like the M1 Abrams that Kyiv has asked for and that of vehicles like the Vietnam War-era M113 armored personnel carriers that the Pentagon has already provided to Ukraine.

The Bradley falls somewhere between a traditional tank and an armored personnel carrier, but it’s not a main battle tank.

A battle tank’s primary mission is to destroy other tanks. The standard U.S. tank is the M1 Abrams, which generally weighs about 70 tons and carries a 120-millimeter gun that can fire a variety of anti-armor rounds.

The Abrams rides on treads and can reach speeds of about 42 miles per hour on flat surfaces and 30 when off road. Notably, in a departure from previous generations of U.S. tanks, the Abrams is powered by a gas-turbine engine, similar to those used by jet aircraft. Taking care of those engines, and keeping them supplied with enough fuel, is a difficult task on the battlefield.

By comparison, vehicles with diesel motors, like the Bradley, are much easier to maintain and keep in action.

The Bradley has a 25-millimeter gun mounted on a rotating turret atop the vehicle’s hull, so it is often mistaken for a tank. (Bradleys were substituted for the tanks Donald J. Trump requested as president for a July 4 celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 2019.)

A 7.62-millimeter machine gun is usually mounted on the turret as well, along with launchers for the BGM-71 TOW missile. The United States has already supplied Ukraine with 1,500 TOW anti-tank missiles, announcing the transfer as part of a $775 million aid package on Aug. 19.

Like the Abrams, the Bradley rides on treads instead of wheels, which allows traversals through rough terrain impassable for trucks. And the hulls on both vehicles are wrapped in sophisticated armor blocks meant to offer a degree of protection from direct strikes from enemy gunfire and missiles.

According to an Army history of the vehicle, the Bradley was designed to keep up with M1 Abrams tanks, allowing commanders to move troops alongside tanks for mutual support.

And while both vehicles are operated by small crews — four soldiers for the Abrams and three for the Bradley — the Bradley has a combination door and ramp assembly that opens to the rear so that infantry soldiers can quickly enter and exit.

The Bradley can carry about half as many troops as a traditional armored personnel carrier— such as the Vietnam War-era M113 vehicles the Pentagon has already sent to Ukraine — but has much better armor protection and carries far more firepower.

Not exactly. Ukraine’s Army had a number of Soviet-era tanks as well as armored personnel carriers before Russia invaded, and some of the latter are armed with machine guns. Many have been destroyed as the war has ground on.

The Bradley offers a much greater level of protection for the troops carried inside, and its 25-millimeter gun and TOW missiles will offer those troops a greater degree of fire support, while giving battlefield commanders the ability to form small teams of Bradleys to take out Russian tanks and other vehicles.

Yes. The U.S. Army has built two different versions. One, called the M2, is built to carry a squad of perhaps a half-dozen soldiers into combat. The other, called the M3, is designed for scout units to carry out reconnaissance missions and can carry two additional soldiers.

We don’t know yet.

The Bradley was a creation of the Cold War, built to carry U.S. troops into battle with Russians. According to Army documents, it was introduced in 1981.

Bradleys were used in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and throughout the post-9/11 wars as well.

Its lengthy development — which took more than 15 years — was mocked in a 1998 HBO movie, “The Pentagon Wars.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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