In April 1972, the U.S. Army launched a bidding progression for a new Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). In November of that same year the U.S. Army accepted FMC Corporation’s design and signed a development contract. Tests were conducted in 1976 by the Army and modifications and required improvements were made to the prototype (XM723), replacing the turret and weapons and installment of a TOW anti missile on a redesigned turret. By 1978 2 more prototypes were delivered. In June 1979, 6 pre-production M2 IFV were handed over for more tests. In 1980, the U.S. Army officially named the M2 IFV after the five-star General Omar Bradley (1893-1981). Later, in 1981, the first mass produced M2’s were delivered to the Army.
The M2 Bradley had a welded aluminum hull and was powered by a 500 hp Cummings diesel engine. Mounted on the turret was a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun, a 7.62 coaxial MG and a double TOW anti-tank missile launcher. The passenger compartment could carry 6 fully equipped soldiers would who would exit through a rear ramp or access door. In 1985 further improvements were carried out on the missile launcher and an AN/TAS-5 night vision sight was added. It became the M2A1Bradley.
In 1986, the U.S. Army started a high survivability program to upgrade the M2A1 IFV’s into M2A2’s. Side skirts were added and the Bradley IFV looked very different than its predecessors. Both side skirts and hull were protected by adding explosive reactive armor (ERA) produced by General Dynamics.
By 1994 all M2’s were converted to M2A2’s. 1423 Bradley’s were further converted into M2A2 “Operation Desert Storm” (ODS) platforms, adding a range finder (ELRF), a tactical navigation system (TACNAV) and a Digital Compass System (DCS). By 1995, M2A2 ODS IFV’s started to receive final upgrades and became the latest M2A3 versions, adding the Commander Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), a CO2 laser rangefinder and a digital fire control system. Considered one of the backbones of the U.S. Army, the M2 IFV Bradley, proved to be dependable in warzones and never suffered mechanical failure during combat. On top of that, they destroyed more enemy armored vehicles than the M1A1 tanks.
What Makes The Meng M2A3 Bradley Model Unique
There have been several renditions of M2 Bradley model kits through the years.Tamiya, Academy,Trumpeter etc. just to name a few, all have their version(s). Also the list of after market accessories for the Bradley is endless. Meng out of China however, takes it to a new level with their release of their M2A3 Bradley w/BUSK III.
Packaged in a beautifully designed box are 23(!) sprues with 667 parts (incl. 179 interior pieces). 3 PE frets with 31 parts, 3 transparent sprues. Detail includes; very detailed engine compartment, suspension, turret interior, passenger compartment, rear air conditioners, workable hinges and hatches, side skirts with additional armor modules, turret interior, gun assembly, commander’s and gunner’s separate armor etc.
A bag with non gluing workable tracks is provided; separate soft plastic passenger safety belts, flexible machine gun belt, tarp and a small 2” x 3” decal sheet with safety plaques and interior and exterior details. Plastic is again exquisite with extensive fine and crisp detail that is becoming a standard for all their releases.
Instructions are very clear and come in a form of a 33 page booklet with color plates to choose from 3 versions; IFV’s for the 1st Battalion, 68th regiment, 4th armor Division, Kuwait 2004; 3rd Infantry Division, Iraq 2005 and IFV from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad 2005.
Meng’s release is what you can call state of the art and is meticulously researched and rendered. You will not be disappointed with this model and the kit will allow you to build it almost straight out of the box without the use of after market accessories to be competitive. Great job Meng! You can buy the 1/35 Meng M2A Bradley w/BuskIII here