I imagine that some group in BAE Systems had a great party this last weekend. The news is that BAE Systems received several orders from the U.S. Army to remanufacture and upgrade Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles to A3 configurations. The total cost of these orders runs to more than $1 billion. Most of the work will be done at their plant at York, PA. The modified vehicles will be delivered to the Army between June 2006 and January 2008.The A3 upgrade progam began back in 2001 with 389 M2A3 vehicles and 77 M3A3 vehicles to be upgraded by 2006. The upgrade includes an improved thermal imager for the TOW missile, a combat identification system, and other improvements to "provide commanders with outstanding situational awareness in the harshest urban fights."The Bradley vehicles have what is called ventilated facepiece collective protection, which provides fresh air through hoses into the crew's M42A1 protective masks. The squad being transported has no collective protection and must rely on their protective masks and suits. Interestingly enough, the original M3 Bradley vehicle and M1 Abrams tank had no collective protection at all, despite knowledge that the Soviet armored tanks and vehicles did offer such protection. I used to get a kick by going to the AUSA annual meeting and asking defense contractors who were pushing armored vehicles what chem-bio survivability features their vehicles have. "Ahhh... let me get my boss... I don't know that one."Hey, it's been real, it's been fun, but Noah's back tomorrow and I'm outta here. Hope to see you readers at my blog sometime.-- Armchair Generalist
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