FMC/GDLS M-981 FISTV

     Notes: The M-981 FISTV is a modification of the M-901A1 ITV (Improved TOW Vehicle), and externally resembles the ITV to a high degree.  This resemblance is intentional; an ATGM vehicle like the M-901A1 is a much lower priority target than a FISTV that is spotting for and partially controlling what could massive amounts of indirect fire.  The resemblance is so uncanny that the hammerhead mount that contains the M-981’s spotting gear is virtually identical to the M-901A1’s hammerhead mount (except for some inconspicuous lens openings in the center of the mount where the M-901A1 has its sights for its TOW missiles), and the place where the openings for the TOW normally on the M-901A1 are covered with black paint that is hardened against wear.  The M-981 is used in numbers by Egypt and Israel; though the US still uses the M-981, it is quickly being supplanted by the M-7 BFIST.  In the US military, the M-981 had a severe weakness once the M-1 Abrams and Bradley came into service – it could not keep up with the faster Abrams and Bradley, and it could not match the Bradley’s armor.  In addition, the M-981 has a top-heavy design (the M-981’s hammerhead is much heavier than that of an M-901), and it is therefore prone to rollovers and is unbalanced to the point that large Styrofoam flotation panels much be attached to the sides to keep it afloat when swimming.  (It should be noted that in the countries using them, swimming the M-981 is to be done only in emergencies and for certain tactical situations, and the Styrofoam panels are almost never carried or mounted.) It is lightly armed, even more so than its M-113 base vehicle.  It cannot move with the hammerhead deployed (which would make the sights useless and the vehicle even more top-heavy).  The sights and vehicle navigation equipment in early versions included gyroscopes; these took about 10 minutes to spin up enough to provide proper targeting.  The M-981, however, was the first desiccated FIST vehicle, and was a novel concept at the time of its introduction.

 

The Base M-981

     Internally, however, the M-981 is very different from the M-901A1.  The hammerhead mount contains the sights and targeting gear, called the Ground/Vehicular Laser Locator Designator (commonly called a “glid”), which includes a laser designator.  The hammerhead mount also contains day and night vision equipment.  The M-981’s hammerhead mount also uses the vehicle’s sights to transmit a target picture to the vehicle’s computer and identifies the target, if it is a vehicle.  The chance of the vehicle being able to properly identify the target vehicle is 13 in 20.  The hammerhead mount allows the M-981 to take up a hull-down position and raise the sights above the terrain, thus protecting the M-981. Internally, the M-981 has an inertial navigation system, and early versions had two long range radios (one data-capable), a medium-range radio, and a short-range radio.  It also has downlink equipment to allow the crew to view through the sights in the hammerhead mount and use its laser rangefinder.  The M-981’s computer is primarily used for identifying targets, providing information about the targets, and calculating targeting information. The computer can provide firing solutions, but this is a secondary if not a tertiary solution, is very limited, and rarely used.

 

Common Features with the Base M-113 Chassis

     The M-981 is based on the M-901A1 ITV, which is itself based on the M-113A2 APC.  The M-981 retains the M-113A2’s rear ramp with a door in it, but the roof hatch is deleted.  The commander’s cupola is smaller than that of the M-113A2 and is situated further forward than that of the M-113A2; in addition, the hatch opens to the right.  This keeps the cupola clear of the hammerhead mount whether it is in the up or down position.  The M-981’s cupola has a pintle mount, but it is armed with a smaller weapon, since the M-2HB is too big for the cupola’s position, and because the M-901A1 also uses a smaller weapon.  The commander’s weapon is normally an M-240D (originally, an M-60), but later, many M-981’s traded the heavier machinegun for an M-249 SAW. M-981’s also commonly carry an M-249 in a storage rack, in addition to the crew’s personal M-16s or M-4s. Like the M-113A2, the fuel tanks are in the side walls of the M-981.  The driver’s position is in the left front, and has three vision blocks to the front and one somewhat to the left.  The center front block can be removed and replaced by a night vision block.  The original M-981 uses a tiller system for controlling the vehicle and for braking.  The M-981 uses the M-113A2’s superior torsion bars, which give superior off-road performance and a smoother off-road ride.  The M-981 uses the M-113a2’s engine, transmission, and drive train.  The engine of the M-981 is a turbocharged General Motors 6V53T diesel engine developing 212 horsepower.  Like the M-113A2, the M-981 has pivot steer capability, but in the US Army, the pivot steering capability was usually disabled because it often led to thrown tracks.  On the front fenders are a cluster of four smoke grenade launchers each.

 

The M-981A3

     The M-981A3 is the designation for a later iteration of the M-981 that first appeared in the mid-1990s, and is the form that most M-981s used by Egypt and Israel take.  It consists of several modifications, including drive train modifications, an automatic transmission, and the use of the RISE version of the 6V53T engine which develops 275 horsepower.  The M-981 is controlled using a conventional steering yoke, a brake pedal, and a gas pedal, instead of the physically tiring tiller control system.  The pivot steer system was made much more reliable and is normally enabled on the M-981A3.  The driver’s passive IR night vision was replaced with a thermal imager.  The fuel cells in the walls of the M-981 were moved to the rear on the M-981A3. The drive train, transmission, engine, and suspension improvements in the M-981A3 render the M-981A3 unable to swim “officially,” though if the Styrofoam flotation panels are added, the M-981A3 can actually swim.  The vehicle is slow in the water, has almost no freeboard, and is almost constantly in danger of sinking.  If you want to swim your M-981A3, you do so at your own risk.

     Internally, the M-981A3 carries two data-capable long-range radios, one medium-range radio, one short-range radio, one radio designed specifically for communicating with fixed-wing aircraft, and one radio specifically designed for communicating with naval assets.  The M-981A3 has a laser designator and the computers are far more adept at providing fire solutions.  The computer and the communications gear automatically categorize requests for information by necessity and can provide information to up to four receiving FDCs, assuming the sights in the hammerhead mount and the crew can keep up.  The M-981A3 has upgraded batteries and there are more of them to give the M-981A3 additional capability of running its electronics with the engine off.  The hammerhead mound can be retracted much faster than on the M-981.  Day and night vision equipment has been improved, including the inclusion of an advanced image intensifier and a FLIR instead of a thermal imager.  Steps have been taken to automatically protect a crewmember directly using the sights from blinding lasers.  A minor piece of added kit is a water/ration heater hotplate.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

M-981

$405,899

D, A

525 kg

12.7 tons

4

10

Passive IR (D), Image Intensifier (Head), Thermal Imager (Head)

Shielded

M-981A3

$368,772

D, A

490 kg

14 tons

4

10

Passive IR (D), Advanced Image Intensifier (Head), FLIR (Head)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

M-981

121/85

27/18/3

360

139

CiH

T2

TF2  TS2  TR2  HF6  HS4  HR4

M-981A3

133/94

30/20/3

360

150

CiH

T2

TF2  TS2  TR2  HF6  HS4  HR4

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

M-981

None

None

M-60 or M-240D or M-249 (C)

800x7.62mm or 1100x5.56mm

 

GDLS M-7 BFIST

     Notes: Often called simply the BFIST or sometimes referred to as a BFSV, the M-7 BFIST shares much in common with the M-7 ACP, and both are modifications of the M-2 Bradley IFV.  BFISTS first appeared in the mid-1990s in the wake of Desert Storm, where the M-981 showed its inability to keep up with the fast-moving Bradleys and Abrams.  (Ironically, the BFIST had its own problems keeping up with the standard Bradley and the Abrams, though tactical employment doctrine was much different by then.) The original BFIST was based on the M-2A2ODS variant of the M-2 Bradley, and has the upgrades and improvements of that version.  The BFIST’s performance during Operation Iraqi Freedom was impressive, able to provide highly mobile spotting elements for artillery, mortar, and MLRS units, and greatly improving the commanders’ situational awareness, as it can be used to an extent as a reconnaissance vehicle (though it was not designed for that purpose).  As of the time I write this (early June 2011), no sales of the M-7 BFIST have been made to other countries.  The BFIST also offers much better firepower than that of the M-981, as well as much superior mobility and protection for its crew.

 

The Current BFIST – The M-7 BFIST

     The current BFIST is, as stated above, based on the M-2A2ODS, and externally resembles that vehicle to a high degree.  A telling point, however, is the box on the left side of the turret; it is wider and longer than the TOW launcher of the M-2A2ODS, because it carries the bulk of the BFIST’s mission equipment and sensors, including night vision gear, day vision gear, and a laser rangefinder and laser designator.  Another telling feature is the extra radio antennas.  The turret and the rest of its armament is retained, though ammunition load is reduced.  Internal stowage is rearranged to take into account the much altered mission, though often there is stowage for one or two AT-4 rocket launchers.  The gunner’s and commander’s positions are retained, along with their associated sighting equipment and sensors.  Internally, however, the layout is much different; in the space where the dismount crew and their equipment is normally carried, there is a single crewman who is virtually surrounded by his computer, radios, and other mission equipment and stowage.  The computer of the M-7 BFIST is sort of an intermediate step up from that of the M-981A3, somewhat improved in capability, but primarily improved in the areas of speed, storage, ruggedness, and the ability to go quickly into action, gather information from the sensors, and begin to provide information on targets.  The amount of targets the M-7 BFIST’s computer is capable of keeping track of is classified, but I have heard numbers ranging from four to seven.  The computer’s accuracy in identifying enemy vehicles is improved in capability and speed from the M-981A3.  Though it reduces accuracy somewhat, the M-7 BFIST is capable of spotting for fire units and designating targets while the M-7 BFIST is moving at half-speed.  The turret crew also act as spotters for the vehicle, and they can feed the information from their sights to the computer, as well as provide some limited positional information.  Information from the primary sensors are automatically downlinked to the hull crewman. The radio suite includes two data-capable long-range radios, one long-range radio (not data-capable), and two short-range radios, as well as a radio for communicating with fixed-wing air assets and one for communicating with naval assets.

     Features retained from the basic M-2A2ODS include the armor improvements, lugs for ERA on the sides, the redesign of the turret armament, and provisions for the mounting of appliqué armor or bar/slat armor.  The engine is an improved version of the M-2 and M-2A1’s VTA-903T engine, developing 600 horsepower, and able to diesel, alcohol, or the military’s current standard, JP-8.  Retractable metal covers are mounted to protect the driver’s vision blocks, and a wire guard has been mounted to protect the driver from low-hanging wires. Two others were also mounted, on the turret to protect the commander and gunner.  The commander and gunner have seats inside the hull for use when the vehicle is not in action.  Excess internal space, however, is at a premium, and those seats are usually folded and the space used to stow gear.  The M-7 BFIST has an eye-safe laser rangefinder and designator, an IFF system, thermal imaging for the driver, and a system to jam radio-guided and IR-guided missiles (regarded as only partially-effective; on a roll of 12 in 20 against radio-guided missiles and 10 in 20 for IR-guided missiles they are decoyed away from the M-7 BFIST).  Part of the system involves the emission of low-grade radio-jamming signals, and the launch of flares (eight carried) and IR-obscurant smoke.  Like many vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, the BFIST also has special panels on the sides, front, and roof; though they may look like appliqué armor, they in fact look a certain way (again classified) to observation devices to help cut down on fratricide.  M-7 BFISTs are equipped with an NBC overpressure system with a collective NBC backup.

 

The BFIST’s successor – The M-7 BFIST A3

     The M-7 BFIST is currently undergoing upgrades which will are based on the M-2A3, along with improvements to the internal computer, the day and night sensors in the external pod, and extended-range laser rangefinder and laser designator (effectively doubling the range of both).  The largest change in the M-7 BFIST A3 (also called the Bradley FIST A3, Bradley A3 FIST, or the M-7A3 BFIST) is the addition of a Battlefield Management System, similar to that on the M-1A2 Abrams and M-2A3 Bradley, which is managed by the crewmember in the hull.  The computer improvements also extend to the rest of the crewmembers; the commander and gunner in particular have more direct input of targets they spot into the computer system, which is much more flexible and capable with increased storage.  The crewmember in the hull has at least two large displays and one small one to monitor the tactical situation and the vehicle situation.  The inertial guidance of the M-7 BFIST has been upgraded to GPS, though the inertial guidance system has been retained as a backup/secondary system.

     Like the M-2A3, the M-7 BFIST A3 has a CIS which gives it a hunter-killer capability, aiding in its defense.  The day night vision of the commander and the gunner was upgraded, and the M-7 BFIST A3 also received the IBAS system allowing for automatic boresighting of the ChainGun on the move and calling for an improved fire control computer.  Likewise, the gunner’s sights have received the stabilization upgrades of the M-2A3.  The day and night vision equipment now has a magnification of 1x of 4-48x and twice the field of view of the M-7 BFIST.  And like the M-2A3, the turret of M-7 BFIST A3 has a thin layer of titanium armor added to the turret roof, and a low-power air conditioner.  In short, the M-7 BFIST A3 has been upgraded to M-2A3 standards, and now has virtually all of the M-2A3’s improvements as well as improvements to the mission equipment package.

 

     Though I haven’t been able to find any specific information on the subject, I can see no reason why the M-7 BFIST and BFIST A3 could not be fitted with the BUSK kit.  This, however, is simply my guess and should not be taken as any sort of fact.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The M-7 BFIST made an appearance in the Twilight War, though it was a rare asset, with perhaps 40 making it overseas and another 40 being kept in the US.  The M-7 BFIST A3 was not available in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

M-7 BFIST

$647,624

D, A

550 kg

29.9 tons

4

14

Thermal Imaging (D, G+C, Pod), Image Intensification (Pod)

Shielded

M-7 BFIST A3

$969,324

D, A

490 kg

30.8 tons

4

14

Thermal Imaging (D), FLIR (C), 2nd Gen FLIR (G, Pod), Image Intensification (G), Advanced Image Intensification (Pod)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

M-7 BFIST

110/83

23/18

662

156

Trtd

T4

TF11  TS8  TR6Sp  HF13  HS8Sp  HR6Sp

M-7 BFIST A3

108/82

23/18

662

162

Trtd

T4

TF11  TS8  TR6Sp  HF13  HS8Sp  HR6Sp

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

M-7 BFIST

+3

Fair

M-242 25mm ChainGun, M-240C

250x25mm, 1100x7.62mm

M-7 BFIST A3

+3

Good

M-242 25mm ChainGun, M-240C

250x25mm, 1100x7.62mm

*Floor armor for the M-7 BFIST and M-7 BFIST A3 is 7; the M-7 BFIST A3 also has a turret roof AV of 7.

 

GDLS M-1131 Stryker Fire Support Vehicle (FSV)

     The FSV is what was once known as a FIST-V (Fire Support Team Vehicle).  It’s purpose is to provide fire direction and reconnaissance for artillery and mortar elements of an attacking army.  In this role, the FSV is equipped with the M-707 Stryker Mission Equipment Package, which includes all the electronics, computers, software, and hardware needed to direct and control indirect fires.  This includes a BMS, the ability to directly input fire coordinates into artillery and mortar fire computers equipped with a radio data link, and extra information on the state of indirect fire assets, including what ammunition they have and their state as far as whether they are moving, setting up, or ready to fire.  The FSV carries a raised module on the rear of its hull which carries enhanced sensors, including day telescopes, an advanced image intensifier (with a range of 15 kilometers), and an advanced FLIR (range 10 kilometers), as well as a laser and GPS rangefinder and a laser designator.  The laser rangefinder and laser designator have enhanced range (6 kilometers). The FSV does not normally have an RWS – the raised turret would interfere with the sensor package.  It does normally have a single cupola with an M-2HB, or rarely, an M-3M or Mk 19.  The interior includes the BMS and tactical fire control system with multiple screens and fire solution and direction computers, as well as two data-capable long-range radios, another long-range radio, and a short-range radio.  The FSV does not carry a dismount team, but a FIST (Fire Support Team), which consists of 3 men; the FSV also carries a vehicle commander who mans the cupola and the driver.  The FSV normally has a priority radio frequency or digital link to the Stryker Command Vehicle.

     As a variant of the Stryker, the FSV has most of its automotive, electrical, and hull components in common with the base Stryker. The FSV is equipped with a 350-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission.  Some of the automotive components have redundancies.  The engine used is unusually quiet, and when burning JP8 fuel, also has a reduced exhaust plume.  The FSV has ABS and traction control for more positive braking and traction, especially off-road, and it has a locking differential.  The ABS is on the last three axles, and those wheels also have power brakes. The tires are run-flat and puncture-resistant.   The FSV is normally 8x8, but can be switched to 8x4 for road use; in this case, the four rear wheels become the drive wheels.  The FSV has central tire pressure regulation.  The crew and troop compartments have air conditioning and heating, as well as an automatic fire detection and suppression system.  The engine compartment and fuel tanks also have an automatic fire detection and suppression system.  Boxes are mounted on the rear third of the sides of the FSV to store vehicle, crew, and troop equipment; nonetheless, like virtually all military vehicles in the field or combat, crew and troop equipment is often carried strapped to the top, sides, or glacis.  (Incidentally, this strapped-on equipment can provide some minor “armor.”)

     The base armor of the FSV is a steel/ceramic sandwich, giving it the equivalent of spaced armor over much of its hull. The floor and suspension are also reinforced to give it enhanced mine and IED protection.  However, the FSV is almost never seen in combat with its cage of bar/slat armor, which surrounds the vehicle except for the area of the rear where the ramp opens and closes (shots at the rear of the FSV are 20% likely to hit the cage before they hit the vehicle).  This protection extends to about 30 centimeters above the deck of the vehicle.  The FSV can also take a MEXAS composite appliqué armor kit, which can be applied to every face of the vehicle, to varying degrees.  The bar/slat armor and the MEXAS appliqué armor can be used in conjunction with each other to provide superior protection to the vehicle, but this does substantially increase the weight and mobility of the FSV. IR suppression is also employed on the FSV; detection by IR devices, thermal imagers, and FLIRs is one level more difficult, as is targeting with IR-guided missiles.  When not equipped with the bar/slat armor, the rounded shape gives it some stealth characteristics; detection by radar in this case is at -3 and targeting by radar-guided weapons is one level more difficult.  (The use of bar/slat armor negates this advantage.)

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: Like other Stryker variants, the FSV is not available in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

M-1131 FSV

$555,315

D, A

1 ton

17.4 tons

3

9

Passive IR (D Rear), Image Intensification (D), Advanced Image Intensifier (Pod), FLIR (Pod)

Shielded

M-1131 FSV w/Bar/Slat

$557,461

D, A

900 kg

17.9 tons

3

9

Passive IR (D Rear), Image Intensification (D), Advanced Image Intensifier (Pod), FLIR (Pod)

Shielded

M-1131 FSV w/MEXAS

$559,973

D, A

425 kg

19.7 tons

3

11

Passive IR (D Rear), Image Intensification (D), Advanced Image Intensifier (Pod), FLIR (Pod)

Shielded

M-1131 FSV w/MEXAS & Bar/Slat

$562,119

D, A

300 kg

20.2 tons

3

11

Passive IR (D Rear), Image Intensification (D), Advanced Image Intensifier (Pod), FLIR (Pod)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

M-1131 FSV

147/74

34/18

201

179

Stnd

W(8)

HF9Sp  HS6Sp  HR6 (1)

M-1131 FSV w/Bar/Slat

143/73

33/17

201

183

Stnd

W(8)

HF11Sp  HS8Sp  HR8Sp (2)

M-1131 FSV w/MEXAS

129/64

30/16

201

202

Stnd

W(8)

HF15Cp  HS10Cp  HR7Sp (3)

M-1131 FSV w/MEXAS & Bar/Slat

126/63

29/15

201

206

Stnd

W(8)

HF17Cp  HS12Cp  HR8Sp (4)

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

M-1131 FSV

None

None

M-2HB or M-3M or Mk 19 or M-240D (C)

2000x.50 or 430x40mm Grenades or 3200x7.62mm

(1) Roof AV is 3; Floor AV is 4Sp.

(2) The bar/slat armor provides a sort of “double spaced armor” effect depending upon the face it hits – if the front or sides are hit, 4D6 damage is removed from the hit’s penetration if the Stryker is hit by HE-type rounds.  The rear face’s bar/slat armor protects the rear face only on 20% of hits – the rest of rear face hits have only an AV of 6.  Roof AV is 3, Floor AV is 4Sp.

(3) Roof AV is 4, Floor AV is 5Sp.  Hits from certain angles (front and sides) will have a “composite-spaced” armor effect – divide incoming hits by two for HE-type warhead hits, then subtract 2D6.

(4) Roof AV is 4, Floor AV is 5Sp.  Hits from certain angles (front and sides) will have a “spaced-composite-spaced” effect – divide incoming hits by two for HE-type warhead hits, then subtract 4D6.

           

United Defense M-992 FAASV

     Notes:  The FAASV (Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle) began as a private venture by BMY (later merged with FMC to become United Defense).  The idea was to produce a mechanized supply vehicle that automated or nearly-automated almost every facet of resupplying the M-109 series of self-propelled howitzers, and/or keep them supplied during a long fire mission, and would be a superior resupply vehicle to M-548s in service at the time.  Though the M-992 was originally designed to be matched specifically to the M-109A2 howitzers in US service at the time, they have been progressively modified and upgraded for other M-109 versions, as well as for use with the M-107, M-108, and M-110, and several countries produce near-clones of the M-992 based on their own indigenous chassis or have vehicles with similar functions.  Other countries have found that with a little modification (sometimes “field-expedient” in nature) that the M-992 can also be used with some of their other SP artillery pieces, and even with heavy mortars or ground-mounted guns.  In the US military and in the militaries of several countries worldwide, the M-992 has replaced earlier, less capable vehicles.  Initial date into US Army service was 1985. Crews often refer to the M-992 as the CAT (Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked).

 

The Basic M-992

     The chassis of the M-992 is in its lower half virtually identical to that of the M-109A2, and automotively and suspension-wise it uses the same components, as well as the same driver’s station.  However, the turret is replaced by a large semicircular domed superstructure which is flattened on top.  The driver’s compartment is in the same place as on an M-109, but on the M-992 this places him just in front of the raised superstructure. On the center part of the raised superstructure is a manually-operated cupola for the commander which has a pintle mount. Within this superstructure is what makes the M-992 a FAASV.  Racks are installed which, on the base M-992, carry a total of 90 standard 155mm projectiles, three Copperhead 155mm CLGPs, 99 propelling charge canisters, 13 boxes of various fuzes, and one primer box.  When in use, the M-992 is backed up to the rear of the M-109 (or vehicle in question), and a conveyor belt is extended into the open doors of the rear of the M-109’s turret.  Six rounds per minute can be fed to the gun vehicle.  A second conveyor can be extended to the ground on the either side of the vehicle to load and/or pass ammunition from stacks or piles on the ground.  A crew of three are required to man each conveyor, and two soldiers oversee the process and quickly fix any problems which might arise during the loading or passing process.  They are assisted by an electro-hydraulic automatic stacker.  The interior of the M-992 leaves little room for anything else (especially crew equipment or anything else extra), but the M-992 does have a 5kW APU to allow it to continue to function at full speed with the engine switched off, as well as another 5kW APU dedicated to charging the vehicle’s batteries and running other electronics such as radios.

     The M-992 is equipped with a heater and an automatic fire detection and suppression system.  The rear door of the M-992, when opened, opens upwards hydraulically and fits to the rear doors of the M-109 to form a protective shell.  The M-992 is equipped with an NBC overpressure system, with a collective NBC backup; in addition, the roof of the superstructure has a passive automatic chemical detection sensor.  Vehicle armor is largely of aluminum, and provides only limited protection, primarily against shell fragments and small arms.  The suspension consists of torsion bars connected to seven roadwheels on each side, and the front and rear sets of roadwheels have shock absorbers; the ride is reasonable, but not great.  The M-992 is powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V71T 405-horsepower turbocharged engine, coupled to an automatic transmission.  In addition to the side hatches for ammunition loading (found on the lower hull at the rear of either side), there is a large hatch on the right side at the front of the superstructure to crew entry and exit.  This hatch has a vision block, but no sort of firing port.

     Egyptian M-992s have a slight modification not found on other M-992s: attached to the front of the superstructure is a light crane with a capacity of 626 kilograms, which can move ammunition pallets or cargo around and onto the M-992.

 

The M-992A1

     The primary modification to the M-992A1 is an upgraded version of 8V71T engine, developing 440 horsepower for more speed.  The engine was also modified for more reliability in cold weather and in hot and dusty conditions. Operating crew requirements have been reduced, with only two men being required to man the conveyor belts.  Ammunition storage is slightly modified; the M-992A1 carries only 11 boxes of fuzes, as some newer rounds have unitary fuzes.  A GPS navigation system was added.  The M-992A1 was regarded as an interim upgrade, prior to the introduction of the M-992A2, which would be designed specifically to operate with the M-109A6 Paladin.  The M-992A1 was to allow operations with the Paladin to begin.  There are slight differences in length and some armor improvements.

 

The M-992A2

     The primary modifications to the M-992A2 were to the rear door, propellant charge racks, and conveyor system to make it more compatible with the M-109A6 Paladin. Other upgrades were largely incremental, including improvements to the engine, transmission, electrical system, and drive train, as well as a slight suspension height adjustment.  Relocations of the engine fuel heater and the internal crew heater were carried out.  Propelling charge bags carried was reduced to 96. Improvements in components have actually lightened the vehicle.

     In 2005, the M-992A2 MACS (Materiel Change System) upgrade was carried out.  This upgrade was aimed primarily at supporting the now types of ammunition available, including RAP rounds, base-bleed rounds, and the soon-to-be-coming Excalibur CLGP.  A minor change under the MACS program is the addition of a third APU – a 10kW APU, which can be used to power the M-992A2, another M-992A2, or gun vehicle. The number of standard projectiles carried is increased to 95, and the number of CLGP’s to four, but since some of these projectiles are unitary and some of the propelling charge bags are more powerful, their number has been reduced so that 73-80 are carried depending upon the ammunition load carried.  The main conveyor system has been replaced with the MACS conveyor system, which primarily helps in the assembly or rounds and charges, but also increases round passing to seven rounds per minute.  Improvements in components have actually lightened the vehicle (in relation to the M-992A1), despite the addition of the extra APU and an upgrade in armor.

 

The M-1050

     When the M-110 203mm SP Howitzer was still in service in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, a version of the M-992 was designed for use with the M-110.  This is largely the same as the M-992, but as the rounds and charges are larger, the M-1050 carries 48 203mm projectiles, 53 propelling charges, 7 boxes of fuzes, and one primer box.  The main conveyor belt is also slightly modified, as is the rear hatch.  These vehicles have since been converted, some to M-992A2 FDCV vehicles, and some to M-992A1 and M-992A2 FAASVs.

 

The M-992A2 FDCV

     The M-992A2 FDCV (Fire Direction Center Vehicle) takes an M-992A2 base and greatly modifies the interior to make into a sort of super-FDC vehicle.  The FDCV can function as both an FDC and a more general battery command post; one M-992A2 FDCV can replace four M-1068’s in the FDC/battery command post role.  The M-992A2 FDCV is equipped with a full Battle Management System (BMS), with the associated computers and storage, and LCD screens and storage for maps and suchlike. The computers also collate and produce fire solutions for an entire battery if necessary. The M-992A2 FDCV is equipped with GPS that ties into the BMS, and the computers can also directly receive information from appropriately-equipped FISTVs and fire control parties.  The M-992A2 has a survey system to help place the guns, mortars, or MLRS accurately, and it can directly input its computer information to fire control computers used by batteries’ guns if they are so equipped.  The FDCV can therefore give the batteries nearly instantaneous firing information, as well as keep aware of the general tactical situation.  The radio suite includes three data-capable long-range radios, two short-range radios, a radio for communicating with fixed-wing assets, and a radio for communications with naval assets.  In addition, the FDCV has a very-long-range VHF radio; in a passive role, its listening range can reach many thousands of kilometers, while in the active transmitting role, one can expect up to 500 kilometers range.  The M-992A2 FDCV also has a switchboard and carries 20 field telephones and 500 meters of commo wire.  The M-992A2 FDCV has a 60kW APU, which can power the FDCV’s electronics as well as those of another vehicle.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The M-992A2 FDCV does not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline.  Most M-992s in the Twilight 2000 timeline are M-992A1s, though a few are M-992A2s; the M-1050 is also still in common use, and has produced a further Twilight-only variant: the M-1050A1, with the improvements of the M-992A1.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

M-992

$604,063

D, A

400 kg

28.8 tons

8

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

Egyptian M-992

$604,859

D, A

325 kg

28.9 tons

8

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-992A1

$631,524

D, A

500 kg

28.8 tons

6

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-992A2

$630,581

D, A

840 kg

26.1 tons

6

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-992A2 MACS

$672,497

D, A

740 kg

26.6 tons

6

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-992A2 FDCV

$462,069

D, A

640 kg

26.8 tons

5+4

22

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-1050

$428,940

D, A

500 kg

28 tons

8

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-1050A1

$429,900

D, A

600 kg

28 tons

8

20

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

M-992

105/73

25/17

511

213

Stnd

T4

HF6  HS3  HR3

Egyptian M-992

104/73

25/17

511

215

Stnd

T4

HF6  HS3  HR3

M-992A1

113/79

26/19

511

228

Stnd

T4

HF7  HS4  HR3

M-992A2

124/87

29/21

511

205

Stnd

T4

HF7  HS4  HR3

M-992A2 MACS

122/85

28/21

511

209

Stnd

T4

HF9  HS4  HR4

M-992A2 FDCV

120/84

28/21

511

211

Stnd

T4

HF7  HS4  HR3

M-1050

108/75

26/18

511

207

Stnd

T4

HF6  HS3  HR3

M-1050A1

116/81

27/20

511

221

Stnd

T4

HF7  HS4  HR3

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

M-992/M-1050

None

None

M-2HB (C)

840x.50