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    US Army’s Newest Bradley Variant: A Shield Against Modern Threats

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    Bradley Fighting Vehicle Live Fire” by U.S. Army Europe is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    In a strategic move to bolster battlefield capabilities, the US Army has unveiled the newest iteration of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M2A4E1 variant.

    American infantry fighting vehicle silhouette / 3d illustration
    American infantry fighting vehicle silhouette / 3d illustration

    This upgrade comes as a direct response to contemporary threats faced in combat zones such as Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have been deploying US-provided M2A2 Bradleys with notable effectiveness against Russian opposition.

    BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle  in Victory Park Armenia Yerevan
    BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle in Victory Park Armenia Yerevan

    Last week, images of the Bradley’s next-generation model were released, showcasing an armored vehicle that is described as “the most modern and survivable version” to date.

    Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Fort Totten! #wmata #wtf” by Joe in DC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The M2A4E1 variant, which was revealed in Maine, is the product of integrating an Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS), an improved High Definition Forward Looking Infrared Gunner’s Sight, and an Environmental Control Unit designed to mitigate heat stress for dismounted soldiers.

    Bradley Fighting Vehicle Live Fire” by U.S. Army Europe is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The Iron Fist APS, developed by Israel’s Elbit Systems, represents a defensive leap for the Bradley, delivering hard-kill protection against anti-armor weapons such as rockets or missiles.

    M2/A2 Bradley Fighting vehicles” by UNC – CFC – USFK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    It works by launching an interceptor munition to neutralize inbound threats before they can reach the vehicle. The Iron Fist is lauded for its ability to increase survivability against “all types of anti-armor threats,” a significant advancement considering the evolving anti-tank capabilities of adversaries.

    Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Saber Strike 2014” by U.S. Army Europe is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean of the Army’s Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEOGCS) expressed the Army’s commitment to this defensive technology in late March, confirming the procurement of the Iron Fist after overcoming budgetary constraints.

    Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Saber Strike 2014” by U.S. Army Europe is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    With the Army receiving funding to replace each Bradley donated to Ukraine, the exact financial implications remain undisclosed.

    Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Saber Strike 2014” by U.S. Army Europe is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    This infusion of advanced technology into the Bradley’s arsenal comes as the US has sent over 200 M2A2 variants to Ukraine, as part of a broader security assistance package exceeding $50 billion since the full-scale war with Russia began in February 2022.

    1st Cavalry Division Bradley Fighting Vehicle conducts live-fire training in South Korea” by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The assistance also encompasses Stryker vehicles and Abrams tanks.

    Two M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles” by UNC – CFC – USFK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The Bradley’s battle history is significant. Originally designed to counter Soviet infantry fighting vehicles, it entered service in the 1980s and saw action in the Gulf War, later deployments to Iraq, and is now proving its mettle on Ukrainian battlefields.

    A US Bradley armoured fighting vehicle blends into its surroundings on a firing range in Poland” by NATO is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Ukrainian soldiers have extolled the Bradley for its firepower and survivability, marking it as a superior counterpart to former Soviet systems.

    National Training Center, M2A2 PDS Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Fort Irwin” by mark6mauno is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The vehicle is equipped with TOW missiles, a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun, and a 7.62mm M240C machine gun, offering an operational range of roughly 300 miles and speeds exceeding 40 mph.

    M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Fort Irwin CA” by mark6mauno is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    While Bradleys have demonstrated efficacy in Ukraine, they are not invincible—many have succumbed to Russian artillery and mines. However, the new upgrades are expected to further enhance their survivability.

    m2a3-bradley-fighting-vehicle” by LockheedMartin19 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The M2A4E1’s introduction underscores the US Army’s commitment to maintaining armored superiority amid an evolving threat landscape, ensuring that such assets continue to play a pivotal role in modern combat scenarios.

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