How Bradley Fighting Vehicles Work

By: Kevin Bonsor


The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is equipped with tank-like tracks. Soldiers operate their Bradley during an operation to search for weapons and munitions in areas of anti-Coalition activity along the Iraq-Syria border.
Photo courtesy U.S. Army

The M2 and M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles are light armored personnel vehicles that are designed to be fast. The standard 24.9-ton Bradley is powered by a 500-horsepower, supercharged, eight-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine, giving it enough power to keep up with other armored vehicles like the M1 Abrams tanks. With a power-to-weight ratio of 20 horsepower per ton, the Bradley can reach a top speed of 40 miles per hour (64.4 kph) on paved roads. In comparison, the M1 Abrams tank is powered by a 1,500-horsepower engine and travels at 30 mph (48.3 kph). The Bradley models have a fuel capacity of between 175 gallons and 197 gallons (662-746 liters).

An upgraded M2A2 Bradley has a 600-horsepower engine that delivers a power-to-weight ratio of 24 horsepower per ton.


Similar to a tank, the Bradley is a tracked vehicle with six dual-tired road wheels and three track-return rollers on each side. One track-return roller is a double roller. The other two rollers support only the inside half of the track.

The Bradley is designed to cross any terrain, even water, and can transition to amphibious mode in five minutes. The newest Bradley models, the M2A3 and M3A3, have an inflatable pontoon that is fitted to the front and sides of the vehicle.

The tracks propel the Bradley through the water at a top speed of about 4 mph (6.4 km/hr).