New AMPV Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle for US Army undergoes rigorous field testing

According to pictures published by the United States Department of Defense on July 23, 2021, the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) for U.S. Army undergoes rigorous testing at Yuma Proving Ground. The AMPV will replace the M113 tracked armored personnel carrier and family of vehicles in service with the U.S. Army.
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Currently, multiple AMPVs are undergoing reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) testing at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in the United States. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The M113 is one of the most popular tracked APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) vehicles in the world. It entered service with the U.S. Army in 1962, and was used during the conflict in Vietnam, and has seen service in virtually every American military action in the ensuing decades.

Nonetheless, the M113 was built for a different generation of warfighting, and the recently developed Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) incorporates a long list of upgrades that make it significantly more advanced than its predecessor.

The AMPV (Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle) is a new tracked armored vehicle for U.S. Army designed, developed and manufactured by the Defense Company BAE Systems. In December 2014, BAE Systems was awarded a 52-month contract covering the AMPV's engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) and low-rate initial production (LRIP) phases. Under the EMD phase, a total of 29 AMPVs in all five variants are to be delivered. The contract's LRIP phase will cover 289 vehicles, and under current plans it is expected that 2,907 AMPVs could be procured in five variants.

The AMPV’s five variants—a general-purpose vehicle, mission command vehicle, mortar carrier, and medical evacuation and medical treatment vehicles-- have nearly 80% more interior volume than the M113, and significantly more power, survivability, and maneuverability. The cooling and electrical systems are also significantly more robust to accommodate both existing and future upgrades. It boasts the same powertrain and suspension system as the Bradley and M109A7 self-propelled howitzer, which eases maintenance and logistics challenges for all three vehicles in the field.

The General Purpose variant accommodates two crew, six passengers, is reconfigurable to carry one litter, mount crew served weapon, integrates two Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (HMS) or two Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS), Vehicle Intercom (VIC)-3, Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE), Duke v3, and Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2)/Blue Force Tracker (BFT).

The Mortar Carrier variant accommodates two crew, two mortar crew, a mounted 120 mm mortar, 69 rounds of 120 mm ammunition, two HMS radios, a SINCGARS radio, VIC-3, DVE, Duke v3, FBCB2/BFT and M95 Mortar Fire Control System.

The Mission Command variant is the cornerstone of the Army’s ABCT Network Modernization Strategy. It takes advantage of increased size, weight, power and cooling limitations and provides a significant increase in command, control, communications and computer capability. The variant accommodates a driver and commander and two workstation operators, and its red side network provides full Tactical Command Post capabilities at brigade and battalion levels.

The Medical Evacuation variant includes room for three crew, six ambulatory patients or four litter patients or three ambulatory and two litter patients, two integrated HMS radios, VIC-3, DVE, Duke v3, FBCB2/BFT and the storage for Medical Equipment Sets.

Currently, multiple AMPVs are undergoing reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) testing at YPG, with each running miles of simulated missions across road courses featuring various terrain conditions, from paved to gravel to punishing desert washboard that would severely rattle less robust vehicles. As they traverse these courses, test vehicle operators continually verify performance of all the platform’s sophisticated electronics. Earlier tests verified the vehicle’s braking, acceleration, and steering performance on slopes and steep grades, and even through a fording basin and on a dust course tilled for maximum sediment. Samples of the vehicles’ fluids are collected and analyzed at various points throughout the tests.

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