Armoured fighting vehicle M1117 Guardian

Armoured fighting vehicle M1117 Guardian

The M1117 armoured security vehicle (ASV), also known as the Guardian, is a rugged 4×4 wheeled armour vehicle developed by Textron Marine & Land Systems’ (TM&L) Cadillac Gage. The M1117 ASV not only protects military police crew from small arms fire and mines but also provides quick insertion capability and manoeuvrability in urban areas.

The M1117 was first introduced into the US Army’s Military Police inventory in 1999. Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom were the two major missions in which the vehicle was involved as mission essential equipment. The ASV proved its operational capability in both missions.

The vehicle is compatible with C-130 aircraft and almost six M1117s can be accommodated in a single C-17 aircraft. It is the only combat vehicle that can roll on and off, while remaining combat loaded.

M1117 armoured security vehicle variants

The M1117 has three primary variants: the infantry carrier vehicle, which holds two crew and eight passengers; a command and control vehicle, which carries two crew, four battle staff and a recovery vehicle; and the M1200 armoured knight vehicle for combat observation and lasing teams.

“The M1117 offers superior crew protection.”

The armoured knight is another variant provided with a sensor package, which locates and assigns targets for indirect fire and laser-guided weapons.

The M1117 has separate variants for the purpose of special missions, including reconnaissance surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA), and ambulance.

M1117 ASV orders and deliveries

The first M1117 ASV production contract for 94 vehicles was awarded to TM&L on 30 March 1999, by the US Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, MI.

By January 2008, the US Army alone procured more than 1,270 M1117s from TM&L. Seven ASVs were delivered to the Ministry of Defence of Bulgaria in 2008, in fulfilment of a contract signed in January 2008, worth $10.2m.

In August 2010, Textron Systems received an order from the US Army to supply 52 M1117 ASVs and 21 M1200 Armoured Knights. In April 2011, US Army TACOM placed a $64.3m firm-fixed-price contract for 37 M1117 ASVs and 51 M1200 Armoured Knight vehicles.

By April 2011, the US Army received a total of 2,777 ASVs and 314 Armoured Knight vehicles under the ASV programme.

M1117 ASV armament

The M1117 comes with a 40mm MK-19 grenade launcher and a 12.7mm machine gun. The vehicle can travel across 360°, with the weapons elevated between -10° to +60°.

The M1117’s turret is the critical component of its crew protection. It can reload under armour for both weapons while operating with the enemy, a capability that has proved advantageous during combat.

M1117 ASV self-protection

The M1117 has been carefully designed to offer superior protection to its crew. The hatch of the turret is kept flat, decreasing the ASV’s silhouette and thus providing the crew with greater protection. The crew can enjoy 360° security from small arms fire by an exterior modular appliqué and an interior spall liner.

“The M1117 vehicle has received more than 2,750 orders.”

The vehicle’s M36 E3 day / night sight and 360° vision blocks are known to provide outstanding lethality and protection on the non-linear battlefield.

The vehicle can also protect the inmates from anti-tank mine blasts or overhead attacks by shell fragments of artillery. As the armour is designed to bolt on, further protection can be added depending on the level of ballistic defence required.

The M1117 is provided with a central tyre inflation system. The ASV runs on specially designed flat tyres, which provide added essential mobility under fire. A gas particulate air filtration system provides additional protection to the vehicle against all threats, whether nuclear, biological or chemical.

Propulsion

The M1117 is powered by a 260hp Cummins 6CTA8.3 diesel engine coupled with the Allison MD3560 six-speed transmission and R-611 independent axles. The vehicle can reach 0-32km/h in under seven seconds.

ASV mobility

M1117’s design enables it to achieve a good ride quality on highways and off-road terrains. An independent suspension system makes the ASV easier to handle even at highway speeds exceeding 60mph, while retaining a high-quality ride and mobility.

The ASV can cross water depths of 5ft, climb gradients of 60% and can get over vertical obstacles of 2ft high.

Variants

The following variants are known to be in production/service:

  • Command & Control
  • Recovery Vehicle (Each ASV can flat tow another ASV or HMMWV)
  • Reconnaissance Surveillance & Target Acquisition (RSTA)
  • Ambulance
  • Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV, alternate name for an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)) – 24 in longer than ASV, armed with cupola mounting for a machine gun or grenade launcher instead of a turret, carries 3 crew and 8 troops.
  • M1200 Armored Knight FiST-V

Direct fire support variant

With the adoption of the M1117 as the Mobile Strike Force Vehicle (MSFV) by the Afghan National Army, demand increased for much larger caliber weapons systems mounted on the same chassis which would provide it with an organic anti-tank and fire support capability. On 22 October 2013, a new fire support variant of the M1117 was unveiled at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) by Textron. This model, described as the Commando Select 90mm Direct Fire Vehicle, was designed with an exceptionally large turret ring and carried a Cockerill Mk III 90mm low-pressure cannon. It provided the M1117 with an extremely potent form of firepower for its size and weight class, firing canister, high explosive, high explosive squash head, and high explosive anti-tank shells, as well as an armour-piercing discarding sabot round capable of destroying older main battle tanks. One advantage of the low-pressure cannon was that, in spite of its relatively large caliber, it could be mounted on a vehicle weighing only 18 metric tonnes, or about 40,000 pounds, combat loaded. The new armament was also fitted with a single-baffle muzzle brake and concentric hydro-spring recoil mechanism as standard to reduce the pressure exerted on the relatively light chassis.

According to Textron, it invested in the 90mm Direct Fire Vehicle as a direct response to the Afghan requirement for a more heavily armed MSFV. Afghanistan immediately ordered 50 and offered to purchase the vehicle through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, with grants from the US government. However, since the 90mm cannon and most of the turret components were made in Belgium, US military officials blocked the sale until they could qualify and approve that particular combination for export through FMS. In 2014, the procurement process was suspended when the US canceled its funding for the sale of almost 300 MSFVs, including the 50 Direct Fire Vehicles, to the Afghan National Army citing budgetary constraints. The US military had not yet finished its testing of the Belgian weapons system at the time, so none were ever delivered. As Kabul’s requirement for a fire support variant of the MSFV remained unfulfilled, Textron agreed to revisit the potential sale with Afghan officials in 2017.

Around the same time, Iraq requested an undisclosed number of 90mm Direct Fire Vehicles from Textron for its ongoing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The sale was pending review by the US government in February 2017.

Foreign variants

Bulgaria uses a variant of the M1117 APC fitted with a NSVT heavy machine gun instead of the M2. Not all vehicles have been converted this way.

The Iraqi Armored Personnel Carrier ASV variant is configured for transport. The Iraqis also have modified some of their ASVs to accommodate an anti-air turret.

Specifications

Mass 29,560 lb (13,410 kg)
Length 237 inches (6.0 m)
Width 101 inches (2.6 m)
Height 102 inches (2.6 m)
Crew 5

Armor IBD Modular Expandable Armor System
Main
armament
40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher, .50 caliber M2HB
Secondary
armament
M240H Medium Machine Gun
Engine Cummins 6CTA8.3
260 hp, 828 foot-pounds
Suspension 4×4 wheeled, fully independent
Operational
range
475 miles at 50 mph
Maximum speed 63 mph (101 km/h)

Operators

 
  • Afghanistan – 634 (55 more were ordered) 255 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles ordered for the ANA.
  • Bulgaria – 17 (6 with the troops in Afghanistan). General Defence Staff of Bulgaria had put a requirement for an additional 30 units to the Parliament in 2008, only 10 were delivered in addition to 7 already present.
  • Canada – 500 (a larger and heavier Canadian variant known as the Textron Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle).
  • Colombia – 39, Used by the Army, it was expected to acquire of a batch of the same amount. These vehicles are the Infantry Carrier Vehicle version, purchased to supplement Colombia’s recently acquired fleet of BTR-80s, another 39 were expected to enter operational service in 2012. In August 2013, Textron was awarded a $31.6 million contract for 28 Commando APCs with remote turrets. Deliveries will begin in November 2013 and be completed by April 2014. On 4 April 2016, the United States Department of Defence made public that Colombia acquired 54 new M1117 APCs.
  • Iraq – 264, (60 more were ordered in April 2016) used by Iraqi National Police units.
  • United States Army – 2,900. The vehicle is primarily used by U.S. Army military police units.
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