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Norway donates 51 NM199 amphibious tracked carriers to Ukraine

On September 19, 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense announced the delivery of 51 NM199 amphibious tracked carriers to Ukraine. These NM199 vehicles, which are a local version of the American M548, are armed with a 12.7mm machine gun and are supplied with spare parts. Their primary purpose is to transport essential supplies and ammunition to the front lines in Ukraine. Their amphibious capability should be much appreciated on a battlefield where so many bridges have been destroyed or simply do not exist.
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Norway has donated 51 NM199 amphibious tracked carriers to Ukraine (Picture source: Norwegian MoD)

These vehicles were transported from Narvik and arrived in Ukraine discreetly last week. The logistics operation involved over 100 individuals. Norway has clarified that these vehicles were no longer in use by its defense forces and had been kept in storage. Norway plans to receive new deliveries of similar vehicles in the upcoming years, with minimal impact on its own operational requirements.

Norway had previously donated various military equipment to Ukraine, including 4 NASAMS air defense systems, 23 M109 A3 self-propelled howitzers, and 8 Leopard 2A4 NO tanks, with further plans to donate F-16 fighter jets.

The M548 is a tracked cargo carrier developed in the 1960s, based on the chassis of the M113 armored personnel carrier (APC). Its primary function is to serve as a versatile platform for transporting cargo and ammunition to forward areas on the battlefield. With dimensions of approximately 5.75 meters in length, 2.68 meters in width, and a height of 2.68 meters, the M548 offers a spacious cargo compartment while maintaining a manageable size.

In terms of weight, the M548 has a combat weight of around 13 tons and a payload capacity of approximately 5.5 tons. It has a crew of four personnel and is powered by a 210 hp Detroit Diesel 6V53 turbocharged diesel engine, allowing for a top road speed of 53 km/h and a range of up to 460 kilometers.

One notable feature of the M548 is its amphibious capability, utilizing its tracks for propulsion. It can also handle gradients or slopes of up to 60%, traverse side slopes of up to 30%, climb obstacles with a vertical step of up to 56 cm, and cross trenches measuring up to 1.67 m wide.

The M548 has undergone several variants to meet specific operational needs., including the M548A3 which received an upgraded diesel engine, producing 275 horsepower, sourced from the M113A3. The M548 has a history of service in various countries and conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and the Iraqi Civil War. It has been exported and remains operational with several international operators.

In addition to its cargo-carrying role, the M548 can be rapidly deployed by fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Even in off-road conditions, and with a failed torsion bar, the M548 remains operational. Additionally, it can be airlifted by transport aircraft like the C-130 Hercules, and its height can be reduced by removing the canvas top and folding the windscreen. The M548 has also been adapted for various specialized roles.

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The British Army used the M548 carrier as logistical support in the 1991 Gulf War (Picture source: Wikimedia)


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