TechM2a2 Bradley: Ukraine's secret weapon against drone threats

M2a2 Bradley: Ukraine's secret weapon against drone threats

A recording from inside the BWP M2A2 Bradley hunting a drone.
A recording from inside the BWP M2A2 Bradley hunting a drone.
Images source: © Reddit | UkraineWarVideoReport
Przemysław Juraszek

26 June 2024 18:32

The war in Ukraine is proving to be a real testing ground where theories regarding the development of military science are being examined and refined. One such theory is using the main armament of infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to combat drones. We present the first case of an FPV drone being shot down by the crew of an M2A2 Bradley ODS IFV.

FPV drones pose a significant threat to both vehicles and individual soldiers, particularly in the absence of a modern electronic warfare system.

However, this does not provide complete protection as opponents can always find ways to make their drones immune to its effects. Moreover, both sides are developing FPV drones capable of autonomous flight in the final phase, thereby gaining capabilities similar to professional military drones or modern anti-tank guided missiles like the FGM-148 Javelin or Akeron MP.

Neutralising such threats is only possible through their physical elimination. The IFV's onboard automatic cannon is ideally suited for this task. It is generally of 20-40 mm calibre and loaded with programmable ammunition that detonates at a precisely specified distance.

Shooting down drones with automatic cannons mounted on vehicles has gained significant importance recently, as reflected in the proposals of the latest main battle tanks showcased at the Eurosatory fair. The European main battle tank EMBT and the extensive modernizations of the Leclerc and Leopard 2 include a 30 mm anti-drone cannon with programmable ammunition.

With a combination of luck, an experienced shooter, and a good fire control system, it is also possible to shoot down a drone using regular high-explosive incendiary ammunition. This feat was accomplished by the crew of a Ukrainian IFV, who recorded the entire event.

M2A2 Bradley ODS - The famous nightmare of Russians as a drone hunter

In the case of the M2A2 Bradley ODS IFV, which dates back to the First Gulf War, the main armament is the 25 mm M242 Bushmaster automatic cannon with a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute, capable of firing both armour-piercing and high-explosive incendiary rounds, with an effective range of up to 2 km.

The very popular M792 HEI-T ammunition in Ukraine contains a 200-gram projectile. About 30 grams are a powerful RDX explosive, and the rest is, among other things, a steel casing that provides shrapnel and incendiary material. The projectile has an impact fuse, and its lethal area of impact is at least 5 metres.

Additionally, the M2A2 Bradley is equipped with a 7.62 mm NATO machine gun and a twin launcher for BGM-71F (TOW 2B) anti-tank guided missiles, capable of effectively destroying tanks at distances up to 3.7 km. However, it is an older-generation system that requires missile guidance until impact and cannot be used during movement.

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