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M3 Bradley

Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV) / Armored Reconnaissance Scout Tracked Combat Vehicle

The M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle is a dedicated armored scout variant of the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Authored By: Dan Alex | Edited: 3/20/2018
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Year: 1983
Manufacturer(s): United Defense LP Ground Systems - USA
Production: 500
Capabilities: Infantry Support; Reconnaissance (RECCE); Troop-Carrying;
Crew: 5
Length: 21.00 ft (6.4 m)
Width: 10.17 ft (3.1 m)
Height: 9.68 ft (2.95 m)
Weight: 25 tons (22,655 kg); 49,946 lb
Power: 1 x Cummins VTA-903T turbocharged 8-cylinder diesel engine generating 600 horsepower at 2,600rpm.
Speed: 41 mph (66 kph)
Range: 298 miles (480 km)
Operators: United States
The M3 Bradley CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle) is very similar in most respects to the M2 Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and varies in a few subtle ways and by defined battlefield role. While the original M2 is designed for the IFV role - carrying troops under protection and supplying support firepower - the M3 is intended for the armored scout/reconnaissance role, doing away with side firing ports and seating for six/seven infantry. Two scout positions are added as is additional communications equipment. The M3 also holds more ammunition storage (25mm, 7.62mm and TOW missiles) while fielding the same multi-purpose, two-man powered 25mm-armed turret. The 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is retained as an infantry defense measure.

The Bradley family as a whole was originally intended to support the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) detailed elsewhere on this site and appeared as a direct counter to the Soviet BMP series of 1966. Adopted in 1980 and fielded beginning in 1981, the M2 Bradley forms a companion vehicle to the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank - able to keep up for fast-moving mechanized formations and providing much-needed firepower to disembarking infantry.

During the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the Bradley accounted for more tanks destroyed than the M1 Abrams itself though at least seventeen of the M2s were lost to friendly fire however (three lost to enemy fire). Improvements to the Bradley family have included enhanced identification features as well as anti-tank missile countermeasures (for first generation wire-guided missiles) and improved armor protection through explosive-reactive armor.

The M3 Bradley CFV is powered by a Cummins VTA-903 diesel engine coupled to a General Electric HMPT-500 series transmission system. Road speeds reach 40 miles per hour with an operational range out to 300 miles. A typical operating crew is three - driver, commander and gunner - with two scouts.

Original models were the M3 and heavily based on a modified M2 Bradley. The M3A1 improved the NBC protection of the crew with other subtle changes added. The M3A2 increased armor protection through ERA block kits while a GPS and laser-rangefinder were added after the 1991 Gulf War. The M3A3 is an all-digital variant which improved situational awareness of the crew and their survivability as well as communications with participating fighting forces. All variants are directly tied to their corresponding M2 Bradley variants and their respective changes.

Armament remains largely the same on the M3 as on the M2 vehicle - 1 x 25mm main gun, 1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, TOW-2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) support (though with 12 missiles).


1 x 25mm main gun
1 x 7.62mm machine gun
2 x TOW-2 anti-tank missile launchers
2 x 4 smoke grenade dischargers

1,500 x 25mm ammunition
4,400 x 7.62mm ammunition
12 x TOW-2 anti-tank missiles
8 x smoke grenades

Variants / Models

• M3 Bradley CFV - Cavalry Fighting Vehicle variant of the original M2 Bradley IFV series.
• M3A1 - Improved NBC; introduction of fire suppression system; periscope rearrangement.
• M3A2 - Improved armor protection; revised NBC suite; GPS navigation; missile countermeasures suite; identification friend or foe.
• M3A3 - Improved digital capabilities; improved communications with other battlefield systems including air support; improved weapons performance.
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