New photos show the US Army's latest version of the Bradley fighting vehicle that's proven itself in Ukraine

  • The US Army has posted photos of its new Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

  • In a statement, the Army called it "the most modern and survivable version" of the vehicle yet.

  • Bradleys have been an important tool for Ukrainian forces, who have repeatedly praised the vehicle.

The US Army has released photos of the newest and most advanced version of its Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, combat-proven armor that Ukraine has been using against Russia.

In a Tuesday statement, the Army's Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems posted images of the new next-generation M2A4E1 Bradley variant that was unveiled in Maine last week, calling it "the most modern and survivable version" of the armored vehicle.

The office explained in a social-media post that the new Bradley infantry fighting vehicle was the result "of integrating an Iron Fist Active Protection System, improved High Definition Forward Looking Infrared Gunner's Sight, and an Environmental Control Unit to prevent heat stress for dismounts."

The Iron Fist APS is a significant defensive upgrade for the Bradley and one that the Army had long been looking into for its vehicles. Manufactured by Israel's Elbit Systems, the Iron Fist provides hard-kill protection against anti-armor weapons such as rockets or missiles by firing an interceptor munition to engage the inbound threat from a distance.

A member of the US Army speaking from a podium next to an infantry fighting vehicle.
The new M2A4E1 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.US Army photo

Iron Fist "increases survivability" for armored vehicles against anti-tank threats and is "effective against all types of anti-armor threats," according to a fact sheet published by Elbit. Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, who leads the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, told Breaking Defense in late March that the Army had finally signed a deal to acquire the Iron Fist after previously suggesting it couldn't afford the highly advanced systems.

"The Army received funding to procure the M2A4E1 for every Bradley donated to Ukraine," the office said this week. It's not immediately clear how much money that will amount to.

According to the latest Pentagon data, the US has sent more than 200 M2A2 Bradleys to Ukraine as part of the more than $50 billion in security assistance Washington has committed to Kyiv since Russia's full-scale war began in February 2022. That aid also includes other American-made armored systems, such as Stryker vehicles and Abrams tanks.

The Bradleys first arrived on the battlefield in Ukraine almost exactly a year ago, giving Kyiv a significant armor boost ahead of its much-anticipated — though ultimately lackluster — summer counteroffensive.

An infantry fighting vehicle driving on dusty ground.
An M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle during a live-fire exercise at Fort Cavazos, Texas.Spc. David Dumas/US Army

Ukrainian soldiers have since praised the Bradley for its survivability and firepower in combat, commending it for being a powerful upgrade over similar Soviet systems.

The vehicles have been captured on video raking Russian troops' positions and destroying advanced tanks, but they're not untouchable, as many have fallen victim to Russian artillery and defensive measures, including mines.

The Bradley, initially built as a response to Soviet infantry fighting vehicles, entered service in the 1980s and was deployed to the Gulf War the following decade before being sent to Iraq in the 2000s. They're highly maneuverable and can transport as many as six fully equipped troops to and from the battlefield.

Bradleys are armed with tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles (the US has sent Ukraine more than 9,000 of these TOW missiles), which can hit enemy armor; a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun; and a 7.62mm M240C machine gun. It has an operational range of about 300 miles and can drive at speeds of more than 40 miles an hour.

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