The US has recently delivered 60 Bradley M2A2 tracked armoured IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) to Ukraine as part of a $3.75 billion military aid package.
According to pictures published on Twitter, the first batch of Bradleys has already been deployed with the Ukrainian Army and painted with pixel camouflage. They are expected to see action soon as the conflict with Russia escalates and the spring thaw approaches.
The Bradley M2A2 is a variant of the M2 Bradley, a combat-proven vehicle that has been in service with the US Army since 1981. The M2A2 features improved armour protection, fire control, navigation and target acquisition systems. It can carry up to 10 troops and is armed with two TOW anti-tank missiles, a 25mm Bushmaster chain gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
The Bradleys are expected to help Ukraine’s infantry accompany its fast-moving armoured forces and conduct joint manoeuvres and combined operations. The US is also providing training for Ukrainian troops on how to operate and maintain the vehicles, as well as additional equipment such as Paladin self-propelled howitzers, RIM-7 Seasparrow missiles, Zuni rockets, M113 armoured personnel carriers, MRAPs and Humvees.
The delivery of the Bradleys marks a significant upgrade for Ukraine’s military, which has been relying on Soviet-era equipment and facing a shortage of modern weapons and vehicles. The Bradleys are compatible with NATO standards and can enhance Ukraine’s integration with the alliance.
The US also hopes that the Bradleys will encourage other NATO allies to increase their support for Ukraine and send more military equipment and personnel.
Bradley M2A2 infantry fighting vehicle
The Bradley M2A2 is a modern infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) that serves in the U.S. Army and several allied countries. It is an upgraded version of the original M2 Bradley, which was introduced in 1981. The M2A2 has improved armour, mobility, firepower, and electronics, making it a versatile and lethal platform for both infantry transport and anti-tank missions.
The M2A2 is armed with a 25 mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun, which can fire armour-piercing or high-explosive rounds at a rate of 100 or 300 rounds per minute. The chain gun can engage targets up to 3,000 meters away and has a dual-feed mechanism that allows the gunner to switch between different types of ammunition. The M2A2 also carries two BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, which can destroy most enemy tanks at a range of 4,000 meters. The TOW missiles are mounted on the left side of the turret, and can only be fired when the vehicle is stationary. In addition, the M2A2 has a coaxial 7.62 mm M240C machine gun for close-in defence.
The M2A2 can carry six fully equipped infantrymen in the rear compartment, which has two roof hatches and a rear ramp for dismounting. The infantrymen can also fire their personal weapons through six firing ports on the sides and rear of the vehicle. The M2A2 has a crew of three: a commander, a gunner, and a driver. The commander and gunner sit in the turret, while the driver sits in the front-left hull. The vehicle is equipped with advanced optics, sensors, and communication systems, such as thermal imaging, a laser rangefinder, GPS navigation, and a digital intercom.
The M2A2 is powered by a Cummins VTA-903T diesel engine, which produces 600 horsepower. The engine is coupled with a hydro-mechanical transmission, which allows the vehicle to reach a maximum speed of 64 km/h on the road and 40 km/h off-road. The M2A2 has a torsion bar suspension system, which provides good cross-country mobility and ride comfort. The vehicle can also swim across water obstacles at a speed of 7.2 km/h, thanks to its water-jet propulsion system and inflatable flotation skirts.
The M2A2 has steel-aluminium composite armour, which provides protection against small arms fire and shell fragments. The vehicle also has explosive reactive armour (ERA) panels on the front and sides of the hull and turret, which can defeat shaped-charge warheads such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The vehicle has smoke grenade launchers for concealment and an automatic fire suppression system for safety.
The M2A2 has been deployed in several conflicts since its introduction in 1988, such as the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Russo-Ukrainian War. It has proven to be an effective and reliable vehicle for both offensive and defensive operations. The U.S. Army plans to upgrade some of its M2A2s to the M2A4 standard, which will have improved armour, engine, transmission, suspension, and electronics. The U.S. Army also intends to replace some of its older M113 armoured personnel carriers with the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which is based on the Bradley chassis.
The Bradley M2A2 is one of the most advanced IFVs in the world today. It combines mobility, protection, firepower, and versatility in a single platform. It is a vital asset for the U.S. Army and its allies in facing current and future threats.