The Army's Proposed Close Combat Armored Vehicle Team

PSAD-78-11: Published: Dec 12, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 1977.

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Several versions of a new main battle tank and infantry combat vehicle have been under development since the early 1960's. Because of the need for compatibility in a combined arms team, the Army is developing a new main battle tank (XM-1) and an infantry fighting vehicle and intends to operate these vehicles as close to each other as battlefield conditions permit.

Differences in mobility and survivability between the XM-1 and the infantry fighting vehicle could reduce their combat effectiveness as a team. A comparison of the two vehicles showed that: (1) the infantry fighting vehicle has slower acceleration and less cross-country speed than the XM-1, subjecting it to greater exposure; (2) the fighting vehicle is 2 feet higher than the XM-1, making it easier to see; (3) the fighting vehicle's armor is inferior to that of the XM-1, making it easier to destroy; (4) the fighting vehicle's main gunsight is easier to destroy, making it more susceptible to a firepower kill; and (5) the fighting vehicle's diesel engine is noisier and more smokey, which could give away battlefield positions. While some differences may be unavoidable, a question remains whether the tactical doctrine covering use in combat can accomodate all the differences in the two vehicles and still maintain the combat effectiveness of both. Test results revealed that the operation of the fighting vehicle's main gun, its firing port weapons, and a swim barrier added to enable it to swim add considerably to the vehicle's complexity. Elements of the vehicle need redesigning in order for it to perform effectively.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should determine: (1) whether, considering its advanced stage of development, the indicated design changes needed to make the infantry fighting vehicle effective can still be practicably made at an acceptable cost; and (2) whether a tactical doctrine can be developed that can accommodate the incompatibilities between the fighting vehicle and the XM-1 and still provide the effectiveness anticipated from both. If the design changes and tactical doctrine are unattainable, the Secretary should direct the Army to find alternatives to the infantry fighting vehicle.

    Agency Affected:


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