Military Factory logo

M981 FIST-V Laser Designator Battlefield Support Vehicle (United States)

The M981 FIST-V was used during the 1991 Gulf War but was eventually given up in favor of the Bradley and Stryker series.

 Entry last updated on 10/10/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  M981 FIST-V  
Picture of M981 FIST-V Laser Designator Battlefield Support Vehicle (United States)

The M981 FIST-V vehicle was developed as a derivative (and upgrade) of the M901 ITV Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) carrier. The FIST-V was used strictly for designating targets (via laser) for attack and did not take on targets directly as the original M901 ITV vehicle was designed to do. The FIST-V series was intended to be used as an artillery observation platform, its chassis based on the original ubiquitous M113 APC (detailed elsewhere on this site).

The complete M981 system was fielded with a Targeting Station Control Device (TSCD), a Ground Vehicle Laser Locator Designator (G/VLLD), a periscope and a single 7.62mm M60 machine gun (the latter for close-in self-defense or suppression of nearby enemy forces). Four SINCGARS radios were also showcased in the design as were 8 x smoke grenade dischargers (for self-screening). Much like the M901 ITV before it, the M981 FIST-V could extend and collapse the turret component for laser designation or travel respectively.

FIST-V vehicles were used during the 1991 Gulf War but their role was eventually overtaken by the M2 Bradley and Stryker family of vehicles.


Service Year: 1987
Type: Laser Designator Battlefield Support Vehicle
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer(s): United Defense LP - USA
Total Production: 550

Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

Operating Crew: 3
Length: 15.94 feet (4.86 meters)
Width: 8.79 feet (2.68 meters)
Height: 11.19 feet (3.41 meters)

Operating Weight: 13 tons (12,000 kg; 26,455 lb)

Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) Protection: Yes
Nightvision (NV) Equipment: Yes

Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

Engine: 1 x Chrysler A-710-B V-8 engine delivering 215 horsepower at 4,000rpm.

Top Speed: 40 mph (64.3 km/h)
Maximum Traveling Range: 199 miles (321 km)

Armament and Ammunition

1 x 7.62mm M60 Medium Machine Gun (MMG)
2 x 4 Smoke grenade dischargers

8 x Smoke Grenades

Global Operators / Customers / Users

United States

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

M981 - Base Series Designaion
M981A3 - Improved variant

M981 FIST-V Images