USA — ‘Dagger’ Brigade updates vehicle fleet

FORT RILEY, Kan. — The Army’s newest ver­sions of two vehi­cles that have kept America’s fight­ing men and women safe for more than a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry have arrived in the Flint Hills.

Sev­er­al dozen of the Army’s newest M2A3 Bradley Fight­ing Vehi­cles trav­el Fort Riley roads on their way to 2nd Heavy Brigade Com­bat Team, 1st Infantry Divi­sion motor pools April 10, 2012. The Bradley Fight­ing Vehi­cles arrived at Fort Riley April 9 via rail­car from Fort Hood, Texas.
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Near­ly 200 M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams Tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fight­ing Vehi­cles were deliv­ered to the Sol­diers of the Big Red One’s 2nd Heavy Brigade Com­bat Team ear­li­er this month. The new equip­ment fea­tures the Army’s lat­est round of updates that allow oper­a­tors bet­ter sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness and supe­ri­or optics over pre­vi­ous ver­sions.

“The great­est thing about the new vehi­cles is that the entire brigade will have the newest equip­ment the Army has to offer,” said Lt. Col. John Cross, com­man­der, 1st Com­bined Arms Bat­tal­ion, 18th Infantry Reg­i­ment, 2nd HBCT. “With our new fleet, the ‘Dag­ger’ Brigade will be equipped to be the most lethal maneu­ver brigade in the U.S. Army.”

Orig­i­nal­ly designed to trans­port infantry troops while pro­vid­ing cov­er fire to sup­press the ene­my, the Bradley has evolved to pro­vide infantry squads bet­ter sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness via a new video mon­i­tor in the troop car­ry­ing com­part­ment. Addi­tion­al­ly, an improved inde­pen­dent ther­mal view­er has increased the capa­bil­i­ty of the Bradley crews.

Like the upgrades to the Bradley, the new fea­tures on the Abrams include a vari­ety of changes that increase the lethal­i­ty and pro­tec­tive capa­bil­i­ties of the tank. Lt. Col. Michael Hen­der­son, com­man­der of the 1st Com­bined Arms Bat­tal­ion, 63rd Armor Reg­i­ment, said the upgrades on the new Abrams make the M1A2 SEP V2 the most impres­sive tank he has ever seen.

“The M1A2 SEP V2 allows us to iden­ti­fy and destroy ene­my tar­gets in excess of 4,000 meters,” he said. “The new (Com­mon Remote­ly Oper­at­ed Weapons Sta­tion) allows the tank com­man­der to engage tar­gets with a sta­bi­lized sys­tem with­out expos­ing him­self to ene­my fire, a huge improve­ment over pre­vi­ous ver­sions where the tank com­man­der had to fire from out­side the commander’s hatch.”

Although Hen­der­son praised all the Abrams upgrades, there was one update he was par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed about — the fire con­trol sys­tem.

“The optics (sys­tem) has final­ly caught up with the ammu­ni­tion,” he said. “The ammu­ni­tion has always been able to kill at extend­ed ranges but the pre­vi­ous optics did not allow us in some cas­es to pos­i­tive­ly iden­ti­fy tar­gets beyond 3,000 meters.”

Crews from 1st Bn., 63rd Armor Regt. and 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt. will begin new equip­ment train­ing lat­er this month and con­tin­ue with train­ing focused on an ear­ly 2013 rota­tion to the Nation­al Train­ing Cen­ter at Fort Irwin, Calif. Cross said his team is excit­ed about the upcom­ing new equip­ment train­ing and is look­ing for­ward to get­ting to learn more about their new vehi­cles.

“The addi­tion of these sys­tems to the ‘Van­guard’ nation and the ‘Drag­on’ Bat­tal­ion will make the Dag­ger Brigade the most lethal brigade in our Army,” he said.

More M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams Tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fight­ing Vehi­cles are sched­uled to arrive at Fort Riley lat­er this year to update the 1st Heavy Brigade Com­bat Team’s fleet.

U.S. Army