More Armored Recon – The Lynx, Offspring of the M113

Another contender armored recon category in the 1960s, a variant of the M113 offered by FMC, Corp., rolled out in 1966. The FMC offering, called M113 ½, appeared for all purposes a shrunken version of the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). With only four road wheels (vice five on the APC), the M113 ½ stood just over six feet tall.

The M113 ½ featured a redesigned front hull and a rear mounted engine. The crew consisted of a driver and observer seated side-by-side, along with the commander at the main weapon station on a .50-cal machine gun. FMC’s ACRC weighed over eight tons, but could reach over 40 mph on roads. Power came from a 6-cylinder diesel.  Like the M113, the ACRC offering was amphibious, with a trim vane that deployed in front of the front hull plate.  Armor on the M113 ½ was slightly better, due to the front 60-degree slope mostly, over the base M113.

On paper, the M113 ½ seemed like a good bet, particularly considering commonality with the M113 family. However with the M114 already in production, the US Army opted not to pursue the M113 ½. That didn’t stop FMC from offering the vehicle for sale to other countries. In 1966 the Royal Netherlands Army purchased the first of 260 modified M113 ½.  In the mid-1970s  most received a turret mounted 25mm Oerlikon KBA cannon.

Overloon, Marshall Museum
Dutch Lynx Recon Vehicle, Overloon, Marshall Museum

The Dutch retained the side-by-side seating for driver and observer.  Note the side crew hatch (seen open here).  Aside from the turret, very similar to the type evaluated in the US.

The M113 ½ attracted orders from Canada also.  FMC modified the basic offering for Canadian specifications, placing the observer behind the driver in tandem, with a 7.62mm machine gun (either a M1919 Browning or FN MAG machine gun).  With this move, the commander’s station moved to the right, retaining the original .50-cal machine gun.  And the Canadians dispensed with the side hatch.

Canadian Lynx

Thus configured, the Canadians call the M113 ½ the “Lynx.”

Canada, the Netherlands, and FMC, who continued marketing the vehicle for a while, proposed and tested armament upgrades.  But size restricted a significant weapons enhancement.  Like the M114, the Lynx could not pack enough firepower to pose a threat to any enemy armor force encountered.  But, in the two NATO countries which used the vehicle cavalry doctrine differed from that in the US.  A small, lightly-armed, thin-armored vehicle measured well against Canadian and Dutch expectations.  Both armies used the M113 ½ into the 1990s, but gradually replaced the type with wheeled scout vehicles.

A nice, detailed walk-around of the Lynx is posted here: Lynx Walkaround.