The infantry fighting vehicle is not the newest model of the army, but it is solid and tried and tested. Along with the German marten, the West has huge stocks that Kyiv could be equipped with. The US alone has nearly 5,000 Bradleys in service.

The M2 Bradley, which US President Biden wants to give to Ukraine, is still the current armored personnel carrier of the US armed forces. A successor is being sought, but has not yet been finally found. The Bradley is scheduled to remain in service until 2045. In the race for the successor is the Lynx (Rheinmetall wants to supply the USA with 4000 Lynx infantry fighting vehicles).

This is a different situation than in the Bundeswehr. In Germany, the marten is on the way to retirement, or if it were already there, there would not have been so many problems and delays with the successor Puma. Bradley and Puma are still children of the Cold War. However, the Bradley is much younger, the first models were delivered in 1981 (50 years Marder: This infantry fighting vehicle is twice as old as its soldiers)

The infantry fighting vehicle was named after Omar N. Bradley, who led the 1st US Army on D-Day. The breakthrough of his troops at Saint-Lô enabled the Falaise Pocket, later they fended off the German Ardennes offensive. Above all, he is known for his complicated relationship with the charismatic General George S. Patton.

Cold War child

The Bradley infantry fighting vehicle succeeded the M113 and was an improvement in every way. The M113 was shaped like a shoebox and featured only light armor. Its aluminum skin could fend off rifle ammunition, but in particular the steep flanks made of light metal only 18 millimeters could be penetrated by a heavy machine gun. The Bradley is a fighter against this transporter.

The main weapon is a 25 mm caliber machine cannon (M242 Bushmaster). Most armored personnel carriers use such autocannons because their effect in supporting infantry is more powerful than a single-fire armored vehicle cannon. But the weapon is not able to penetrate the armor of a main battle tank. For this purpose, the Bradley carries a launcher for two TOW anti-tank missiles on the turret. His infantry group is armed with the Javelin advanced anti-tank guided missile. In addition to the autocannon, a light machine gun is mounted coaxially in the turret.

Armor upgraded

The weak point of the Bradley – and also of other armored personnel carriers – is the aluminum armor, which can be reinforced with steel plates at critical points. In the newer versions, the armor has been massively reinforced, it should now be able to withstand ammunition of caliber 30 millimeters in the crucial places. Packs with reactive armor should be able to repel simple RPG missiles.

This does not offer any real protection in the battle in Ukraine. The Bradley cannot withstand combat vehicle cannons, guided missiles such as the Kornet or even targeted artillery fire. It offers protection against machine guns and shrapnel.

Despite the improvements, the choice of aluminum remains unfortunate, as the metal begins to lose its shape at relatively moderate temperatures. So the Bradley is sensitive to fire and fires.

The Bradley has to do without an advanced armor structure, as used in the US Abrams main battle tank. Despite the aluminum, it weighs 32 tons. It is driven by chains and with its 600 hp it is certainly not overpowered.

The actual crew includes driver, commander and gunner. Then there is the infantry group of six to seven men.

A total of over 6000 vehicles were built. The US has about 5000 pieces. The Bradley is expected to remain in service for a very long time – until about 2045.

The number decides

Compared to the “exotic” AMX-10 RC scout tank from France, the Bradley is an unspectacular workhorse. In terms of performance, it is in the same league as the German Marder or the Soviet BMP models. He has no outstanding innovations from the field of armored personnel carriers.

You have to do without things like a modular structure, remote-controlled turret or hydropneumatic landing gear. With its export, the No front of the NATO countries in relation to infantry fighting vehicles has been broken. One point is central for Ukraine: Bradleys and also the German Marder are available in very large numbers – many Bradleys are still in active service. Here you don’t have to get vehicles going that have been languishing for years.

Looking at stocks, Kiev’s armed forces can not only replenish the losses of the war, but even massively increase them if there is the political will in the donor countries.

Also read:

50 years Marder: This infantry fighting vehicle is twice as old as its soldiers)

Rheinmetall plans to deliver 4,000 Lynx infantry fighting vehicles to the United States

The Boxer armored vehicle is Germany’s secret export hit