Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

The US Army is deploying nearly 100 new M2A3 and M3A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles near Russia

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun13,2024

US Army deploys nearly 100 new M2A3 and M3A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles near Russia

Soldiers of the US Army's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, received nearly 100 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (BAVs) at various locations in Poland and Lithuania from May 20 to 31, 2024. Vehicles received from the Coleman Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 site of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade in Mannheim include both the M2A3 infantry fighting vehicle and the M3A3 cavalry fighting vehicle. Although the two variants are almost similar, the main difference between the M2A3 and the M3A3 is their role.

M2A3 infantry fighting vehicle — is a version of the Bradley fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to key areas on the battlefield while providing fire support. It is equipped with a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun, a TOW launcher and a 7.62mm M240C machine gun. The M2A3 also includes optics and electronics for target detection and communications. It can carry six infantrymen in addition to its crew of three, supporting a variety of combat operations through its protection and mobility features.

The M3A3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle, similar in design to the M2A3, is configured for reconnaissance missions. This tank retains the same armament as the M2A3, including a 25mm chain gun and a TOW missile system, but is configured to carry two scouts instead of infantry. The M3A3 also has additional space for ammunition and communications equipment to support its role in intelligence gathering and information transmission. This variant focuses on situational awareness and battlefield connectivity to aid in reconnaissance missions. Both the M2A3 and M3A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles replaced the aging M113 armored personnel carriers in the 1st Armored Brigade (1st ABCT) tracked vehicle fleet.

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division, also known as the Iron Horse, is currently deployed to Europe as part of a planned rotation of US Army forces to support NATO allies and deter Russian aggression. This deployment includes approximately 5,500 soldiers from Fort Cavazos, Texas, replacing units of the 3rd Infantry Division and 1st Infantry Division at various locations throughout Europe.

These units participate in joint and multinational exercises with NATO partners to maintain readiness and strengthen international military cooperation. The rotation is part of an ongoing U.S. effort in Europe that has been intensified since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and further intensified after a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The deployment of this unit in Europe is expected to last approximately nine months. Upon returning to Fort Cavazos, Texas, the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team is set to receive the latest M2A4 Bradleys, making the current release of the M2A3 and M3A3 an important step in their transition to more modern equipment.

The U.S. Army Field Support Battalion (AFSBn-Poland) was involved in this effort to equip U.S. soldiers in Europe with Army Reserve 2 (APS-2) as part of a broader Army modernization effort. In September 2023, the battalion withdrew nearly 120 Bradley fighting vehicles from the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team to prepare for deployment of the new equipment after a nine-month rotation in Europe. These APS-2 support measures have had a significant impact on equipment modernization and overall Army readiness.

Major Stephen Waugh, support officer for AFSBn-Poland, emphasized the importance of the Bradley modernization effort. He participates in weekly operational planning meetings to stay abreast of his role and the Army's goals for equipping tank brigade combat teams with advanced weapons. His knowledge of Bradley expanded significantly during his time at AFSBn-Poland. The team worked long hours to ensure the Bradleys were ready for deployment. As part of the 405th AFSB's regional alignment and transformation initiative, AFSBn-Poland is moving its assets from Mannheim to Powidz, Poland, where the new Long-Term Equipment Storage and Maintenance Complex (LTESM-C) is located. Subsequently, the German Army Field Support Battalion will assume command of the Coleman APS-2 work site and continue to oversee the Dülmen APS-2 work site.

The Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 (APS-2) program strategically places vital critical equipment and supplies in key locations to ensure that US forces in Europe can respond quickly to emerging threats and crises. This shortens deployment times and increases operational readiness by maintaining a high level of readiness of combat-ready equipment. APS-2 supports a variety of missions, from combat operations to humanitarian assistance, and bridges the gap between base station logistical readiness and the needs of deployed units.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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