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BAE Systems secures new contract for upgrading US Bradley IFVs.

| Defense News Army 2024

BAE Systems has secured a contract for upgrading the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) to the M2A4 version. This initiative aims to extend the operational life of the platform until 2050.
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The US Army conducts military exercises with the latest generation of Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the M2A4 Bradley (Picture source: US DoD)

BAE Systems has received a $78 million US order to upgrade additional Bradley IFVs to the advanced M2A4 model for the US Army. The total value of the orders now exceeds $750 million US.

The Bradley M2A4 represents an evolution in the Bradley series of infantry fighting vehicles, designed and deployed by the US Army. This variant is the result of a continuous modernization process, aiming to meet the changing requirements of the modern battlefield.

Since its initial introduction in the 1980s, the Bradley has undergone several updates to enhance its survivability, firepower, and mobility. Originally designed to transport infantry while providing fire support, the Bradley has had to adapt to emerging threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and urban guerrilla tactics.

The M2A4 variant embodies these improvements. It is equipped with modern digital technologies, enhancing the crew's situational awareness. These digital systems include new communication and navigation equipment, allowing seamless integration with other elements of the Armored Brigade Combat Team. This integration is essential for maintaining effective communication and coordination on the battlefield.

In terms of protection, the M2A4 benefits from improved armor. This includes not only stronger armor plates but also active protection systems (APS) such as the Iron Fist-Light Decoupled (IF-LD). The APS is designed to detect and neutralize incoming threats, such as anti-tank missiles before they reach the vehicle. This significantly increases the survival of the vehicle and its crew in increasingly complex combat environments.

In terms of mobility, the M2A4 features a more powerful engine and improved suspension. These improvements are necessary to handle the additional weight of the protection systems and electronic equipment. They also ensure that the vehicle remains agile and capable of navigating various terrains, a crucial aspect for both urban and rural operations.

The need for these improvements stems from the US Army's desire to maintain a fleet of infantry combat vehicles capable of facing current and future challenges. In the context of evolving threats and the emergence of new technologies, platforms like the Bradley must adapt to remain relevant. The M2A4 program is part of this perspective, seeking to extend the operational life of the Bradley until 2050 while increasing its capacity to protect and effectively support ground troops.

The US Army is exploring the possibility of integrating the Iron Fist-Light Decoupled (IF-LD) APS into the Bradley fleet, as part of its Modular Active Vehicle Protection System program. Although initial power supply issues with the IF-LD have been resolved, funding for its inclusion in the M2A4 upgrades has not yet been allocated.

The Bradley program has undergone multiple survivability enhancements over its lifespan, including underbelly protection and the introduction of the Bradley Urban Survivability Kits (BUSK), further bolstering the security of this vehicle.


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