M113s. Good.

Army to upgrade armor on older personnel carriers

The Army is going to up-armor some additional M113 armored personnel carriers to be used in Iraq.

These vehicles, both veteran warhorses, are the M113/A3 armored personnel carrier and the M577 command post carrier. Both will be tougher and safer than newly armored Humvees.

Army officials who pushed hard over the last two years for getting the M113 into duty in Iraq said it was more useful, cheaper and easier to transport than the Army’s new wheeled Stryker armored vehicle, which also is in use in Iraq.

The Army and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld found themselves at the center of a firestorm last month over the pace of adding armor to the Humvee, a small transport vehicle that’s been pressed into service in Iraq as a combat vehicle. Critics have charged that even with armor the Humvee is too easily destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.

An Army representative, who didn’t want to be identified, said Monday that $84 million was being spent to add armor to 734 M113/A3s and M577s.

This comes out to about $114,000 per vehicle. That’s pretty cheap, but remember that it’s to UPGRADE exisitng used vehicles, not to purchase new ones. Still, seems like a pretty good deal.

The US Army will be relieved to know that Murdoc Online fully endorses this move. In fact, back in April I wrote

Between the shortage of armored vehicles to face the recent insurgency and the fact that the Humvees that have had armor added are breaking down too frequently, maybe we could use some of those M113s we keep hearing about? The anti-Stryker folks are happy to point out that we’ve got tons of the things sitting around unused. Maybe we could use some of them for patrols in tough areas, at least until armored Humvee production catches up with the requirements. Most soldiers must have at least a passing familiarity with the M113, so I think it would be able to be fielded rather quickly. Sure, the armor isn’t what we’d like, but it’s a hell of a lot better than a Humvee.

Of course, M113 success in Iraq might make the expensive Stryker look bad. By all accounts the Stryker is performing very well, though, and I’ve said before that there’s room in this Army for both.

We need M113s. We need Strykers. We need up-armored Humvees. We need unarmored Humvees.

The mission and the environment will determine which vehicle or vehicles should be used.

Also, the San Jose Mercury News article I link to includes a pic of an M113 with a big turret and a main gun. That’s NOT what we’re talking about here. A propoganda victory for the anti-Stryker crowd?


  1. The M-113 is a better vehicle for protection than the HMMWV. I still say we need a better, new, modernized vehicle for the job. Wheeled is easier on the roads, gets better gas mileage, and is quieter, but has more terrain limitations. I say we need to bring back the armored car for patrolling. Look at the Cadillac-Gage v-650(?model #). Now that’s what we need.

  2. The M-113 is tougher than a HMMWV but not nearly as good as a LAV-25. It’s also a clunky old bitch to drive and maintain. I wish the Army had not wasted all that money developing the Stryker instead of just buying LAV’s.

  3. The M-113 is tougher than a HMMWV but not nearly as good as a LAV-25. It’s also a clunky old bitch to drive and maintain.’ I’ve never driven an M113 so you may well be right about it being a ‘clunky old bitch to drive’. However, from what I’ve read, they’re pretty reliable. I think, having bought more than 10,000 that most of the bugs were worked out and maintenance crews know how to take care of them and what to look out for. I’ve read that during a trial comparing the M113 and the Stryker, none of the M113s had *any* mechanical problems during the entire trial. The Strykers, apparantly, had plenty, including chewing up tyres like crazy travelling off-road. This is only what I’ve read, but I found it to be believable. ‘Wheeled is easier on the roads, gets better gas mileage, and is quieter, but has more terrain limitations.’ I don’t think wheeled vehicles are easier on roads. Tracked vehicles have lower ground pressure. That’s a simple fact and easy to verify. They have a much larger area in contact with the ground, and even if they weigh more, it more than makes up for it. As long as they have rubber pads (or even better, band tracks), they should be just as good for the road, if not better. Gas mileage is also something that I don’t think you can claim is very heavily related to wheels vs. tracks. For one, it depends on how many of the wheels are driven. More wheels driven means more friction. Tracked vehicles have fairly high friction to start off with but it doesn’t really get any worse. I’d argue that vehicle gross weight and engine type are by far the overriding factors which decide fuel efficiency. Quiet, yes, I’m sure wheels are much quieter than traditional tracks. Not sure about the new band tracks. The company that makes the hybrid diesel/electric M8 demonstrator with band tracks claims it’s very quiet. That thing was developed for a lot less money than the Stryker. So don’t tell me one can’t develop a cheap, quiet tracked vehicle. It also has excellent economy, according to them, plus it can travel up to 4 miles with its engine off (on battery, I would suppose). So in short, I believe all the disadvantages tracks have WRT wheels have been overcome using technology, over the last 10-20 years, and have been demonstrated in actual vehicles. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of the military taking them seriously, for some reason. Probably because they’re afraid it’ll make the Strykers look bad. Note that I didn’t say Strykers *are* bad. But I think they are worried if they do ANYTHING which leads to them procuring a new tracked vehicle and it’s a success, this will cause the stupid media to jump all over them. I bet it would happen, too. It’s just sad.. they should be free to experiment with whatever technologies they think are worth trying out, and settle with the best one. This whole deal is WAY too political.