The $1.7 billion Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program is the Army’s blandly named initiative to replace the M113, an all-too-lightly armored transport — sometimes called a “battle taxi” — that first entered service in 1961. Over 3,000 M113 variants serve in a host of unglamorous but essential roles from troop carriers to armored ambulances to mobile command posts.
The folks in the Huey community used to joke that when the last Blackhawk is dropped off at the boneyard, the crew would catch a ride home on a Huey.
Pretty much the same thing can be said for the M113. To say it has been a successful vehicle is a bit of an understatement. More M113s have been built than any other post war Western armored vehicle.
That’s not to say the vehicle doesn’t have its faults. It does. But any replacement vehicle will cost more to buy, be heavier, and cost more to operate. That’s just the nature of improvements in armored vehicles. It may well be a good investment to look for a replacement (and the proposed stripped down Bradley chassis is the common sense approach).
As long as the Army looks for a modest improvement, and not some transformational approach, a good vehicle shouldn’t be out of reach.