Norway Ministry of Defence will donate approximately 50 tracked cargo carriers to Ukraine. The vehicle is called M548 internationally, while the Norwegian version is designated NM199. The vehicle is tracked and is able to maneuver in terrain inaccessible for wheeled vehicles. Therefore, they are important supplement to wheeled trucks to transport goods. The vehicles have been in storage in the Armed Forces, but are now being maintained. The cargo carriers can transport ammunition, food and water to Ukrainian troops in the field. Norway has previously donated a wide range of capacities to Ukraine, such as NASAMS ground-based air defense systems and main battle tanks. The government has also decided to donate F-16 combat aircraft.
“These are important to get supplies to areas where there are no roads. Ukraine still has a strong need for military support in the fight against the Russian invasion forces. Norway will continue to support Ukraine as long as needed,” says Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram.
The M548 is a tracked cargo carrier. It is based on the M113 armored personnel carrier, and was built by FMC Corp. at its San Jose, California, and Charleston, West Virginia facilities. Its light weight allows the use of a relatively small engine to power the vehicle, a 6V53 Detroit two-stroke six cylinder diesel, with an Allison TX-100-1 three-speed automatic transmission, and allows the vehicle to carry a large payload cross-country and to be transported by fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.
The driveline consists of a front sprocket, five roadwheels and a rear tensioner. Suspension is by torsion bar. Support rollers are not necessary because of the taut and relatively light track. In off-road driving, the driver must be careful to keep the track tension constant. Even with a failed torsion bar the M548 is still roadworthy. The power of the motor drives the transfer gearcase, generator and the cooling of the differential/steering gear. The transfer gearcase can be used as a separating clutch when towing the vehicle and serves to reduce the motor’s speed. The power transmission between the drive follows the torque converter with an automatic lock-up clutch.