FORT BLISS, Texas – Three public affairs officers and I found the command center shown above about a mile from one of many dirt roads along the training grounds at Fort Bliss.
Commanded by a colonel, the entire 3rd brigade of the 1st Armoured Division was spread out for miles around the sandy grounds, partaking in a large exercise called Bulldog Focus.
On the periphery of the command center, we found a Bradley fighting vehicle, stationed in front of small berm. Its crew was snacking on some crackers, apparently taking a break – but they gladly showed us around.
Here’s what I saw:
The Bradley is a light-armoured vehicle that entered service in 1981 and has since been upgraded several times.
Powered by a Cummins VTA-903T diesel engine, it has a top speed of 41mph and a maximum range of 300 miles.
It’s a fully-tracked vehicle that is able to keep pace with an Abrams tank.
Its main gun is the 25mm Bushmaster seen below.
It’s also fitted with an M240C 7.62mm machine gun next to the Bushmaster, as well as a TOW BGM-71 anti-tank missile system – but both of these armaments had been removed for the exericise.
It’s also equipped with two M257 smoke grenade dischargers.
Below is the Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystem, which helps gunners recognise, detect, and identify targets.
The IBAS provides targeting for the TOW missile system, which would normally be mounted to the right of the commander’s sight.
The IBAS is manufactured by Leonardo DRS, while the TOW is made by Raytheon and the Bradley itself was developed by BAE Systems – three of the largest defence contractors in the US.
Here’s a view of the two hatches on top.
You can see 22-year-old Specialist Ryan Whitely sitting in the driver’s seat.
While the Bradley can transport six soldiers in the back, which I was not allowed to photograph, the crew only consists of three soldiers: commander, gunner, and driver.
Here’s Whitely with his another member of his crew, 22-year-old Specialist Bowzard.
Because of these small crews, they oftentimes forge strong bonds, which I saw out on the training grounds that day.
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