M113A3 Armored Personnel Carrier
Most of the M113 family that saw service during Desert Storm were underpowered A2 level vehicles. M113A3 that were in the conflict kept pace with the Abrams equipped maneuver forces. Since 1987 the PM office has been modernizing the M113 fleet to the A3. This block modification should be completed for FP1 by 2001 with current funding.
Today's M113 fleet includes about four thousand M113A3 vehicles equipped with the most recent recent A3 RISE (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment) package. The standard RISE package includes an upgraded propulsion system (turbocharged engine and new transmission), greatly improved driver controls (new power brakes and conventional steering controls), external fuel tanks, and 200 AMP alternator with 4 batteries. Additional A3 improvements, include incorporation of spall liners and provisions for mounting external armor.
The M113A3, a full-tracked armored personnel carrier provides protected transportation and cross country mobility for personnel and cargo. A light armored vehicle weighing 27,200 pounds, it carries 11 infantry personnel in addition to the vehicle driver and track commander. It is capable of sustained speeds of 41 mph on level roads and accelerates from 0 to 35 mph in 27 seconds (this compares to 69 seconds for the M113A2).
The M113A3 is a product improved version of the M113A2 with improved transmission and engine. The U.S. Army first identified the need to up-power the M113A2 carrier in the mid-1970s. This need was driven by increases in vehicle weight and a requirement to increase the mobility and survivability of the system. As a result, the "RISE" powertrain was developed and tested at Yuma and Aberdeen Proving Grounds. However, application of the new powertrain was deferred due to a lack of funds.
In 1984 a decision was made to incorporate the RISE package, improved driver controls, spall liners, external fuel tanks and provisions for installation of an external armor kit on an M113 chassis. Additionally, a bolt-on armor kit providing 14.5 mm ballistic protection was developed and tested. Except for the mounting provisions the external armor appliqu? was not incorporated for production.
The new X200-4/4A hydrostatic steer transmission permits use of a more powerful engine, the 275 HP turbocharged Detroit Diesel 6V53T, and eliminates the transfer case and controlled differential. The RISE powerpack increases fuel economy, acceleration, hill climbing speed and braking capabilities and allows the vehicle to maintain speed through corners by accelerating the outer track rather than braking the inner track as on the A2. The increase in horsepower also allows installation of an external armor kit (which increases the gross vehicle weight to 31,000 pounds) and provides mobility comparable to currently fielded vehicles such as the M1 tank and M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
Steering is improved with an automotive-type steering yoke and foot brake arrangement which improves driver control, lessens fatigue and simplifies driver training from that of the A1/A2 steering/braking laterals. Due to load matching ability and increased steering capability, cross country performance is also improved.
Crew survivability is increased by the addition of spall suppression liners and locating the fuel tanks externally, on the rear of the vehicle. The inside of the vehicle (sides, roof and rear) are covered with spall suppression liners which limit troop injuries from the effect of overmatching weapons by restricting the spread of spall when a round penetrates the hull. External fuel tanks free up 16 cubic feet of usable space inside the vehicle and reduce the fire hazard inside the crew compartment. Two tanks and independent valving provide redundancy in the fuel system allowing continued operation when one tank is damaged.
External differences between M113A2 and M113A3 include external fuel tanks and provisions for the installation of an add-on-armor kit.
The M113A3 was type classified Standard. All new APC vehicles produced since 1987 and all converted vehicles since 1989 are the A3 variant. Vehicles have been fielded both in the U.S. and in foreign countries. The M113A3 was initially fielded in 1987 and U.S. production of new M113A3s was completed in 1992. M113A3s are currently being produced for Thailand as a direct sale. Conversion of M113A2 vehicles to M113A3 vehicles has been underway at United Defense, L.P. since 1994. Previously, conversions of M113A2 vehicles to M113A3 vehicles were completed at Red River and Mainz Army Depots, as well as in Korea.
The future M113A3 fleet will include a number of vehicles that will have high speed digitial networks and data transfer systems. The M113A3 digitization program supports the Army's Modernization Plan by applying applique hardware, software, and installation kits and hosting them in the M113A3 FOV. Current plans call for these systems to be integrated into the M113A3 FOV by the year 2006.