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M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover)

Military Bulldozer / Engineering Vehicle

United States | 1986

"While not being a direct-combat vehicle, the M9 ACE earthmover has seen its fair share of conflicts."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/01/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The M9 ACE ("Armored Combat Earthmover") is a frontline military-grade tracked bulldozer utilized by the United States Army. The system was developed to allow forces the ability to dig entrenchments for various artillery pieces while also fulfilling the roles of minefield breaching/clearance, trench crossing/filling, general bulldozing, grading, excavation, route-/area-proofing and pushing/towing of vehicles and/or obstacles. The M9 ACE entered service in 1986 and upgrade programs have kept the machine a viable battlefield piece for American forces. Despite it not being armed, the M9 series has seen its fair share of combat in other ways.

As designed, the M9 weighs in a 36,000lb and features single crew member. The vehicle showcases dimensions of 6.25 meters long, a width of 3.2 meters and a height of 2.7 meters. The crew sits protected under the armored hull superstructure allowing them to continue to operate even when under threat of direct fire from the enemy. Protection is adequate against small arms and fire and artillery spray. Vision ports allow for the necessary situational awareness and project direction. The vehicles configuration is conventional with a dozer blade set to the front of the hull and the crew compartment aft. Running gear includes a track-and-wheel arrangement featuring four road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at rear. The vehicle can promote its own smokescreen through the bank of eight smoke grenade launchers fitted to the hull roof. The M9 line features an amphibious quality as well as an integrated Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) suite.

Power is served through a Cummins V903C 8-cylinder diesel-fueled engine outputting at 295 horsepower. This provides the vehicle with a top road speed of 30 miles per hour and an operational range out to 200 miles.

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Key to the M9's success is its 8.7-cubic-yard "scraper bowl" and bulldozer blade. The hydro-pneumatic suspension allows the front of the vehicle to be raised, lowered or tilted to permit either dozing, excavating, rough grading or ditching functions. The system sports a 2-speed winch with a 25,000 pound pull capability. As the vehicle features no armament for self-defense, it is typically fielded along with other allied units such as Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

With its introduction in the mid-to-late 1980s, the M9 ACE was featured by U.S. Army forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War as Allied ground forces moved against Iraqi units in Kuwait. The vehicles played a critical role in removing road obstacles for the main ground force and in breaching prepared Iraqi Army fortifications. Combined with other elements for protection, M9's served dutifully in their role when dismantling the "Forth Largest Army in the World" at that time.

Due to the rather compact dimensions of the M9 ACE vehicle, it is easily transportable in the hold of a Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" transport as well as the larger Lockheed C-141 "Starlifter" and Lockheed C-5 "Galaxy" heavy lifters.

Approximately 448 M9 ACE vehicles were taken into the U.S. Army inventory by the end of 1992. There were plans for an unmanned, remote-controlled version as the "Standardized Robotic System" (SRS) vehicle through Omnitech Robotics International though this does not appear to have been furthered.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover) Military Bulldozer / Engineering Vehicle.
1 x Cummins V903C 8-cylinder diesel engine developing 295 horsepower.
Installed Power
30 mph
48 kph
Road Speed
199 miles
320 km
The physical qualities of the M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover) Military Bulldozer / Engineering Vehicle.
20.3 ft
6.2 meters
O/A Length
10.5 ft
3.2 meters
O/A Width
9.8 ft
3 meters
O/A Height
53,793 lb
24,400 kg | 26.9 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover) Military Bulldozer / Engineering Vehicle.
8 x Smoke Grenade Dischargers.
8 x Smoke Grenades.
Nightvision - YES - OPTIONAL.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES - OPTIONAL.
Notable series variants as part of the M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover) family line.
M9 ACE - Base Series Designation; model of 1986
M9 ACE System Improvement Plan (SIP) - Multi-phased improvement program for upgraded existing M9 ACE fleet.
M9 ACE Standardized Robotic System (SRS) - Proposed unmanned remote-controlled variant.
KM9 - Korean Army designation
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 448 Units

Contractor(s): BMY Combat Systems / United Defense LP - USA
National flag of Egypt National flag of South Korea National flag of the United States

[ Egypt; South Korea (as KM9); United States ]
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Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The M9 ACE (Armored Combat Earthmover) Military Bulldozer / Engineering Vehicle appears in the following collections:
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