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M3 Bradley

Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV) / Armored Reconnaissance Scout Tracked Combat Vehicle [ 1983 ]

The M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle is a dedicated armored scout variant of the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 03/21/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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).©MilitaryFactory.com
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United Defense LP Ground Systems - USA
United States
Operators National flag of the United States
Service Year
United States
National Origin
Project Status

Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.

Vehicle utilizes a track-and-wheel arrangement to provide enhanced cross-country travel capability.
A modern tank quality, this vehicle sports its main armament in a single turret, typically traversable with an elevation capability in-built.
Armament is situated in a traversing component, allowing for all-around engagement of enemy threats regardless of the vehicle's facing.
Main weapon has an integral recoil mechanism, allowing the system to remain trained-on-target after firing.
A modern quality, onboard systems provide accuracy to primary armament allowing for firing on-the-move.
Crew is provided (either as standard or optional) protection against Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear agents for enhanced survivability in contaminated zones.
Crew has access to night-vision equipment, allowing for low-light or night time operations.
Onboard solution provides ability to neutralize armored or fortified targets at range through missile or penetrating ballistic weapons.
Vehicle features an in-built anti-infantry capability for local defense of the vehicle or general troop suppression.
Vehicle's proven running gear and overall makeup lends itself well to fulfill other battlefield roles by way of specialized designs.

21.0 ft
(6.4 meters)
10.2 ft
(3.1 meters)
9.7 ft
(2.95 meters)
49,946 lb
(22,655 kg)
25.0 tons

1 x Cummins VTA-903T turbocharged 8-cylinder diesel engine developing 600 horsepower at 2,600rpm driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Drive System
41 mph
(66 kph)
Road Speed
298 miles
(480 km)
Road Range

1 x 25mm automatic main gun in turret.
1 x 7.62mm machine gun in co-axial mounting in turret.
2 x TOW-2 Anti-Tank Guided-Missile (ATGM) launchers.
2 x 4 Smoke grenade dischargers.
1,500 x 25mm projectiles.
4,400 x 7.62mm ammunition.
12 x TOW-2 ATGM missiles.
8 x Smoke grenades.

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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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.
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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.
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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.
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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.
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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.
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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.
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Image of the M3 Bradley
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense image database.

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