The M113 entered the military during the 1960s and belongs to the family of military vehicles known as armored personnel carriers (APCs). It provides a balance between all terrain mobility, protection and weaponry. The primary purpose of the M113 APC is to transport troops and supplies in combat zones and is known for its rapid deployment capabilities. Because of its large interior, it is also used for evacuation and medical purposes. It is also commonly used to set up roadblocks and military check points. It weighs 12.3 tonnes, is 5 ft 11.5 inches in length and can transport up to two crew members and 11 passengers. The M1113 is currently manufactured by Anniston Army Depot (Anniston, AL); United Defense, L.P. (Anniston, AL)
There are about 14,000 vehicles in the APV family with just around 16 different design variants operational within the United States armed services. The fleet is designed to remain in service for the next 45 years as the vehicle was made to adapt to potential tasks that could occur in the future. It can be modified for increased mobility, surveillance or extra weaponry.
Since its introduction in the 1960s the M113 has undergone a number of upgrades. It was upgraded to a 212 horsepower turbo charged diesel engine to minimize casualties from fuel tank explosions, 200 AMP alternator with 4 batteries and better suspension and cooling features.
Often compared to its counterpart the M2 and M3 Bradly, the M113 has a number of features that set it apart from other APCs. It has significantly improved mobility and is capable of functioning on land or in water. It is also much more fuel efficient than the Bradly making it the preferred choice for troops on long distance missions. The M1113 is very adaptable and there are a number of mission modules that can be quickly added to customize it at low cost.
On board weaponry and hardware
The primary weapon that the M113 is fitted with is the .50 caliber machine gun. This provides it with the ability to neutralize light vehicles. Using the gun requires that the gunner is exposed while shooting and accuracy is known to decrease while the vehicle is in motion.
Alternately, the M113 can also have a MK19 40mm grenade machine gun mounted instead or the 50 caliber machine gun. The .50 caliber machine gun can remain and the Dragon missile system (no longer operational in the US military) mounted alongside it. The MK19 40mm grenade machine gun can be mounted on the commander’s cupola, replacing the .50 MG.
The vehicle can be transported via the C-5, C-17, C-130, and C-141 USAF cargo aircraft but exceeds the limitations for transport on U.S. Army fixed-wing aircraft.
Optional Features / Protection
Shield kits are available for the Machine commander’s cupola and rear cargo hatch. It can also be fitted with an underbelly mine armor kit that protects the vehicle and its occupants from land mine detonations. The M113 also has the capability to survive Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and can also be fitted with Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) protection systems.