|Armored Personnel Carrier
|38 mph road, 4 mph water
|2 + 11 infantry
|GM 6V53T Diesel V-6
|M2 50 Cal Machine Gun (2000 rounds)
The A3 generation of the M113 family of vehicles is a major, comprehensive upgrade for the entire range of M113 variants. The intent of this upgrade was to increase the overall performance of the US Army's M113 fleet, which was the workhorse of its armored forces in the 1980s (over 20 000 M113s and its variants were in US service then).
While previous M113 models were considered to have adequate firepower for an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), their protection was considered lacking, and their mobility attributes outdated. With 209 hp and a top speed of 64 km/h, the earlier M113A2 would lag behind the 72 km/h M1 Abrams MBT and M2 Bradley IFV. Fully replacing the M113 family of vehicles with Bradley variants had already proven technically, logistically, and fiscally impossible, which necessitated upgrading the M113s instead of replacing them.
Production ran from 1987 to 1992, in which over 6000 new-built m113A3s were manufactured. In addition, thousands of earlier-model M113s were converted to A3 standard, many from 1994-onward.
While previous M113 models were considered to possess adequate firepower for an APC, thier protection was considered lacking, and thier mobility attributes outdated. With 209 hp and a top speed of 64 km/h, the earlier M113A2 would lag behind the 72 km/h M1 Abrams MBT and M2 Bradley IFV. Fully replacing the M113 FOV with Bradley variants had already proven technically, logistically, and fiscally impossible, which necessitated upgrading the M113s instead of replacing them.
The decision to proceed with this upgrade was made in 1984. Collectively known as the RISE upgrade (Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment), the vehicle that would become the m113A3 was planned to be fitted with spall liners, a more powerful engine and transmission, new controls in the driver's station, external fuel cells, shock-absorbent seats, new brakes, and provisions for appliqué armor. Starting in 1987, all new-built M113s were made to 'A3 standard, and all upgrades have been to 'A3 since 1989.
The m113A3's appearance is cubic, with a well-sloped glacis plate, and an inwardly-sloped rear. A large, rectangular trim vane is fitted to the top of the glacis plate, with pioneer tools stowed above it, and two pairs of round headlights with loop-like collision guards at the top on each side. Clusters of smoke grenade dischargers are often fitted to the upper glacis plate as well. The lower glacis plate has two small towing hitches, and a cylindrical hub at each side house the slightly-protruding drive sprocket fixtures. In its standard configuration, the sides are flat, bare, and totally featureless. On the rear end is the ramp, which has a door in the left side that is hinged on the right, and is flanked by the primary recognition feature of the 'A3 models - two large, protruding fuel cells. The roof has numerous, isolated fixtures, including several cylindrical hitches for attaching appliqué armor and other accessories. The middle-rear of the roof is dominated by a cargo hatch, in which up to 4 men can stand at once. At the middle-front-center of the roof is the commander's cupola, which has a skate mount for a machine gun, and 5 vision block periscopes. At the front of the roof, from left to right, are the circular driver's hatch, the engine ventilation louver, and the engine exhaust louver.
There countless variants of the M113A3. All of these variants are immediately identifiable by a distinctive combination of 5 roadwheels on each side, and twin external fuel cells on the rear sponsons (except for the XM1108 and the M113A4, which have 6 roadwheels on each side).