An Oldie but a Goodie

Included as part of the latest $800 million US military aid package to Ukraine are two hundred M113 armored personnel carriers (APC).

Kyiv-based state design bureau LUCH successfully demonstrates a guided missile launch from M113 tracked armored personnel carrier. Image Credit: defence-blog.com

They Need to Get There Quickly

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby says the efforts to get the newly authorized equipment to where it is needed will begin immediately.

Kirby announced to the press:

“We’re not going to wait. We’re going to start getting these articles on the way, as well. So, we will literally start right away.” 

US forces have used the M113 since 1962 when they first saw service in Vietnam. They have primarily been replaced by Bradley fighting vehicles since the 1980s, although reserve forces and foreign nations have kept them in continuous use over the years.

Because they have been around so long, the units that Ukraine will be getting will consist of older APCs that had perhaps already been retired from use. There should be no issues with that, however. These things keep going and going and going and have proven their worth time and time again over the years.

The M113 Story

Since the M113 has been around so long, it has been modified many, many times. There are currently over 40 variants of the vehicle, which is sometimes referred to as a “battle taxi.” It’s the first tracked vehicle I learned to driveway back in the late 80s. Saying that it’s a little hard to see out of with the hatch buttoned down is an understatement.

Developed by FMC (Food Machinery Corporation), the aluminum-hulled M113, intended to be moderately amphibious and air-transportable, was considerably lighter than its predecessor, the M59. A primary design feature of the vehicle was the fully enclosed armor made with 5083 aircraft-quality aluminum alloy. This is enough to stop small arms fire and shrapnel from artillery but not anti-tank missiles or tank rounds. Bolt-on steel armor kits were made available later.  The M113 features a hydraulically operated rear ramp for rapid exit.

The vehicle was designed to carry one commander/gunner, a driver, and 11 soldiers.

More than 80,000 M113s  were produced over the years in multiple variants.  The vehicle is currently operational in more than 44 countries.

Interior of the M113 armored personnel carrier. Image courtesy of armorama.com

The Particulars

Engine: Power is provided by a V-6 Detroit Diesel producing 212 shaft horsepower

Transmission:  Allison TX100-1 three-speed automatic

Weight: 24,080 pounds

Length: 15′ 11.5″

Height: 8′ 2″

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Top Speed (Road): 40 mph

Top Speed (Water): 4 mph

Range: 300 miles

Armament: M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun (standard); one or two M60 7.76 machine guns (added). It can also be fitted with a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcher and cannons that fire high explosive rounds.

In addition to its capabilities as a troop carrier and offensive weapon, the M113 can be utilized as an ambulance to safely remove injured soldiers from the field of battle.

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