The U.S. Army extends BAE Systems a contract modification worth up to $269 million for continued production of the Bradley M2A4 Fighting Vehicle (BFV). The award for an additional 168 upgraded Bradley M2A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicles is part of the Army’s combat vehicle modernization strategy and helps ensure force readiness of the Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT). Previously awarded funding for initial production of 164 Bradley A4 vehicles allowed BAE Systems to begin production. The award of this option brings the total production funding to $578 million. It includes upgrades and associated spares of two Bradley variants: the M2A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M7A4 Fire Support Team Vehicle.
The Bradley M2A4 Fighting Vehicle is equipped with an enhanced powertrain that maximizes mobility and increases engine horsepower, providing rapid movement in reaction to combat or other adverse situations. Wide angle Driver’s Vision Enhancer, improved Force XXI Battle Command Bridge and Below (FBCB2) software integration improves friendly and enemy vehicle identification, enhancing situational awareness. The addition of a High Speed Slip Ring, greater network connectivity and Smart Displays that simultaneously display classified and unclassified information also improve situational awareness. The Bradley M2A4 allows the U.S. Army to transport troops to the fight, and provide covering fire to suppress enemy vehicles and troops.
After the Iraq War, the U.S. Army began researching engineering change proposals (ECPs) for the M2 Bradley to buy back space, weight, power, and cooling capacity reduced by the addition of armor and electronics hastily added during combat. ECP1 will work to restore mobility and allow the vehicle to handle more weight. As weight increased, the Bradley got lower on its suspension, which reduced ground clearance. This decreased mobility on rough terrain and left it more vulnerable to IEDs. The effort will install lighter tracks, shock absorbers, a new suspension support system, and heavy weight torsion bars.
The first Bradleys upgraded with ECP1 were fielded in mid-2015, and the first to be upgraded with ECP2 will begin fielding in 2018. Vehicles that receive both the ECP1 and ECP2 upgrade will be designated A4. On June 14, 2018 BAE Systems Land and Armaments was awarded a contract to produce up to 164 M2A4 and M7A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicles using existing M2A3, M7A3 and M2A2 ODS-SA Bradleys. The Bradley M2A4 is fitted with a two-man turret and keeps the armament of the previous version of the Bradley family that consists of one Bushmaster 25mm cannon and TOW anti-tank missile system. It has a weight of 36,287 kg and can run at a maximum road speed of 66 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 402 km.