Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lebanon has just received a load of Bradley IFVs from the US

(Beirut) Yesterday, eight M2A2s (Bradley Infantry fighting Vehicles) were landed at the port of Beirut in Lebanon. The armoured vehicles are part of a total order of 32 Bradleys which the US is selling to the Lebanese Government. The acquisition of these much more modern IFVs, which have come fitted out with electro-optical and thermal imaging sensors, meaning that the vehicles will be able to help monitor Lebanon’s tense border with Syria and provide more accurate fire support for friendly troops at night.

The only problem here is, Hezbollah has already been seen operating inside Syria with previous US arm shipments made to the Lebanese (which naturally was denied by Beirut)...

... and it will allow Iran (and I suppose Russia as well) to inspect the strength and weaknesses of a vehicle still in service with the US Army, likewise with the electro-optical and thermal imaging sensors. However, it's not just M2A2s the US has handed over. The US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard gave a speech before handing the keys to the vehicles over to the Lebanese Army, and she stated exactly what the US had handed over to Lebanon these past 12 months:
  • 40 M198 howitzers
  • 50 armoured Humvees
  • an armed Cessna aircraft with hellfire missiles
  • 55 mortar systems
  • 50 Mark-19 automatic grenade launchers
  • 1,100 machine guns, including 800 .50 calibre machine guns
  • 4,000 M4 rifles
  • over half a million rounds of ammunition
  • 320 night vision devices and thermal sights
  • 360 secure communication radios
The Bradley was designed specifically for reconnaissance and has a second mission of being able to transport a squad of infantry. It is designed to be highly maneuverable and to be fast enough to keep up with heavy armor during any military advance. The M2A2 has a crew of three: a commander, a gunner and a driver, as well as being able to carry six fully equipped soldiers.

It comes armed with a 25 mm cannon which fires up to 200 rounds per minute and is accurate up to 2,500 m. It can also be armed with two BGM-71 TOW wire-guided missiles which are held in a rectangular compartment on the left side of the turret and are capable of destroying most tanks out to a maximum range of 3,750 m. The Bradley also carries a coaxial 7.62 mm medium machine gun, located to the right of the 25 mm chain gun.

The M2A2 has an improved 600 horsepower (447 kW) engine and improved armour (passive and with the ability to mount explosive reactive armour). The new armour protects the Bradley against 30 mm APDS rounds and RPGs (or similar anti-armour weapons). Currently, the US operates the M2A3 which, to be honest, is a much more advanced iteration of the M2A2, and even those are now being upgraded again.