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The Armys M-1 Abrams, M-2/M-3 Bradley, and M-1126 Stryker: Background and Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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Congressional Research Service Washington United States

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The M-1 Abrams Tank, the M-2M-3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle BFV, and the M-1126 Stryker Combat Vehicle are the centerpieces of the Armys Armored Brigade Combat Teams ABCTs and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams SBCTs.In addition to the military effectiveness of these vehicles, Congress is also concerned with the economic aspect of Abrams, Bradley, and Stryker recapitalization and modernization. Due to force structure cuts and lack of Foreign Military Sales FMS opportunities, Congress has expressed a great deal of concern with the health of the domestic armored combat vehicle industrial base. ABCTs and SBCTs constitute the Armys heavy ground forces they provide varying degrees of armored protection and mobility that the Armys light, airborne parachute, and air assault helicopter transported infantry units that constitute Infantry Brigade Combat Teams IBCTs do not possess. These three combat vehicles have a long history of service in the Army. The first M-1 Abrams Tank entered service with the Army in 1980 the M-2M-3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in 1981 and the Stryker Combat Vehicle in 2001. Under current Army modernization plans, the Army envisions all three vehicles in service with Active and National Guard forces beyond FY2028.There are several different versions of these vehicles in service. The Marines, for example, have an older version of the M-1 Abrams tank and the Active Component of the Army has the most modern version of the Abrams while some Army National Guard units have an older version of the M-1. There are also different M-2M-3 Bradley versions in the Active and Reserve Components and some have called for pure fleeting i.e., all components using the same variant in both the Active and Reserves so they have the same models. There are plans to upgrade and modernize these weapon systems but currently only the M-2M-3 Bradley is scheduled to be replaced by the Future Fighting Vehicle FFV sometime after FY2029.

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