The Bradley infantry fighting vehicles transferred to Ukraine have been credited with decimating more tanks than the Abrams.

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Ukrainian troops are expected to receive US M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) soon. On January 30, the US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) announced on its Twitter that it was working to transport 60 Bradleys. The deliveries are being made under a $2.5 billion military aid package. announcement Pentagon on January 19. Later, on February 14, these infantry fighting vehicles fixed in the German port of Bremerhaven. RTVI understood what the Bradleys were for and how they differed from Russian infantry fighting vehicles.

What is this technique

Bradley fighting vehicles are designed to increase the firepower of infantry through the use of heavy weapons mounted on them. The second, no less important task of the BMP is to ensure the rapid and safe transportation of infantry into battle, which is possible due to its high speed and armor.

The closest relative of the BMP is the armored personnel carrier (APC). The latter, unlike the BMP, is often armed only with machine guns and is used exclusively for the transport of manpower. At the same time, modifications of various infantry fighting vehicles make it possible to use them simultaneously to fight tanks (using anti-tank missile systems, anti-tank systems), light armored vehicles, manpower work and also for recognition.

The M2 Bradley entered service with the United States Army in 1981, while the Bradley project was launched more than ten years ago, in 1963. The Pentagon commissioned the design offices to create a machine capable of times to transport infantry and undermine enemy tanks. Another requirement was to provide the new BMP with the ability to achieve high speeds, comparable to the speed of the M1 Abrams tank, which was later replaced by the M60 Patton tank. The same speed of infantry fighting vehicles and tanks would allow the army to maintain uniform formations of mixed units and moving formations.

The Soviet School of Infantry Fighting Vehicles planned to increase the firepower of vehicles with larger caliber automatic guns – for example, the BMP-2 is armed with a 30mm automatic gun, and the BMP-3 – from a 100-mm gun. Due to this caliber in NATO countries, the BMP-3 is considered more of a light tank than an infantry fighting vehicle. In turn, American engineers and the military relied on the installation of the heavy ATGM TOW (Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided). The effectiveness of the use of these weapons was proven during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when the TOWs installed on the Bradley destroyed more Iraqi technology than the Abrams. And although the gun of the Russian BMP-3 2A70 has the ability not only to fire high-explosive fragmentation shells, but also to launch 9M117M guided missiles, their detrimental effect may not be enough to destroy many modern tanks.

The Pentagon did not specify which modification of the Bradley would be provided to Ukrainian troops. According to Danish analyst Oliver Alexander, Ukraine sent modification of the M2A2-ODS, released in 1993. This conclusion is based on an analysis of photographs taken while the Bradley was submerged on transport ships in the port of Charleston, South Carolina.

The combat weight of the Bradley M2A2-ODS is approximately 27.6 tons. The reservation of the machine body is carried out thanks to the “steel – aluminum – Kevlar” scheme. The front and sides of the vehicle’s hull and turret are additionally reinforced with 30-32 mm thick steel screens. It is also possible to install dynamic protection elements.

The Bradley is equipped with a VTA-903T turbodiesel engine from the American company Cummins Inc. Engine power reaches 600 hp. at 2600rpm. Specific power – 21.7 hp per ton (Russian BMP-3s have 26.7 hp per ton).

The capacity of the fuel tanks reaches 662 liters. The power reserve and speed of the Bradley M2A2-ODS modification are lower than those of the original Bradley M2A1 – it reaches speeds of up to 56 km / h (M2A1 – 66 km / h) and autonomy on the highway is limited to 400 km (M2A1 – 480 km). For comparison, the speed and range of the Russian BMP-3 are 72 km/h on the highway and 600 km, respectively.

The American infantry fighting vehicle is not equipped with water-jet propulsion, movement through water is carried out by caterpillars at speeds up to 7.2 km / h. It has low reserves of buoyancy, which is why it is the best for force water barriers in calm water. To increase displacement, a canvas casing is used.

The crew consists of three people: the commander, the gunner and the driver. The commander and gunner are located in the BMP turret. In addition to the crew, the BMP can carry up to six infantry. There are also versions of the BMP M3 Bradley, designed for reconnaissance. In them, instead of landing in the rear compartment, depending on the modification, rifle embrasures with an M60 machine gun and M16 rifles or special viewing blocks are placed. The reconnaissance version of the Bradley is re-crewed by two servicemen who monitor and search for enemy manpower and equipment.


The Bradley M2A2 ODS is armed with a 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon developed by McDonnell Douglas. It can fire both single shots and bursts. The gun uses two types of ammunition: an armor-piercing sub-caliber projectile (for hitting lightly armored vehicles) and a high-explosive fragmentation projectile (for combating manpower and destroying buildings and fortifications). Ammunition of Bradley’s later modifications include armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectiles. The gun is equipped with a dual ribbon feed, which allows you to quickly switch between projectile types without the need to reload. The elevation angle reaches 60° – so the Bradley can also fire at air targets. The maximum effective range of the M242 Bushmaster cannon is 2-3 km, depending on the cartridge used. Bradley’s primary anti-tank weapon is the BGM-71D TOW anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The launcher is located on the left side of the turret and can accommodate two ATGMs. Reloading is done manually through the upper hatch of the troop compartment. Firing can only be carried out in a stationary position – during the launch, the launcher is automatically brought into a vertical non-combat position. The flight speed of the TOW reaches 278 m/s, the firing range is 65-3750 m. movements). The link between the missile operator is via a wired cable that connects the missile to the IFV. TOW can penetrate monolithic steel armor up to 900mm thick, even with dynamic protection. The main feature of TOW is the flight path. The rocket flies in a straight line, but does not explode on a direct hit on the object, but above – the armor protection of the upper projection of the hull and turrets of most tanks is less than the protection of frontal projection. The detonation action of the rocket’s cumulative warhead is directed downward. The Bradley is also equipped with a 7.62mm M240C machine gun. Located to the right of the main gun. A Bradley’s ammunition load includes 900 rounds for the 25mm cannon, 2,200 rounds for the M240S machine gun, and seven ATGM rounds (two in the launcher and five in the troop compartment). As part of the support package, announced On January 19, the Pentagon will deliver 590 rounds of TOW ATGMs and 295,000 rounds for the 25 mm cannon in pursuit of the Bradley. Fire control systems include a gunner’s sight combined with an additional branch for the vehicle commander. In addition to the “general” sight, the commander also has his own handle with trigger buttons so that both the gunner and the commander can control the armament of the BMP. In addition, “Bradley” is equipped with additional sights for firing at air targets. The trigger mechanisms are electronic, but if the electronics fail, it is possible to manually control the weapons.

The main difference between the Bradley M2A2 ODS version, which was probably delivered to Ukraine, is to equip the equipment with more modern electronics. The BMP is equipped with a TACNAV tactical navigation system, a more modern rangefinder, a thermal imaging guidance device for the driver and an IR passive anti-tank protection system.

An important element of the modification was the installation of the FBCB2 (Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below) combat information and control system. This system brings together all the equipment in a single digital space, modulated in the form of a map indicating the location of friendly and enemy personnel and equipment, taking into account the terrain. Friendly equipment entered automatically by determining location using navigation systems, enemy equipment entered by applying information received through reconnaissance or from a specific unit and crew. All received information is synchronized at all tactical levels up to the command of larger formations and allows you to quickly transmit information about the newly discovered enemy and reduce the risk of “friendly fire”.

Bradley FBCB2Cpl. Alisha Grezlik / 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Application experience

“Bradley” was actively used during the conflicts in the Middle East, in which the United States took part. In 1991, during the Gulf War, a coalition of troops conducted Operation Desert Storm. United forces led by the United States fought against Iraq, which had previously occupied Kuwait. After a month-long bombardment by coalition aircraft, ground forces entered the fray, the main strike force of which fell on highly mobile armored formations.

During the war, the Americans not only were able to test the Abrams-Bradley combination for the first time, but also highly appreciated the firepower of the BMP developed. During Operation Bradley, using TOW ATGMs, they were able to hit more T-72 tanks than Abrams. But it was not without losses. About 20 Bradleys were destroyed (of which 17 were victims of “friendly fire”) and another 12 were damaged. One of the infantry fighting vehicles failed to hit the engine with a 12.7mm bullet. The main result of participation in Operation Desert Storm (in terms of the development of Bradley) was the formation of an understanding of the need to use electronic systems, which marked the beginning of the development of the M2A2 ODS modification , which will be used in Ukrainian.

The Bradleys also took part in the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, for the entire campaign, 150 vehicles were completely destroyed.

In addition to the US Armed Forces, the Bradleys serve in Greece, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Croatia.

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