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EM113A2 Rapid Entry Vehicle 2 (EM113A2 REV2 / SPIRAL 2)

U.S.A./Canada (2005)
Crowd Control Vehicle – 4 Built

The Coalition invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq in 2003 led to a US military stabilization force remaining in the country for over a decade. This occupying force had to face the challenge of both fighting an insurgency as well as to carry out policing duties, including the management of thousands of men housed in an internment known as ‘TIF’ – Theater Internment Camp. With thousands of men interned in these camps, little to do, and poor conditions, inevitably there were fights and a significant problem with large scale disorder. Rather than tackle the inherent problem of the camps it was decided that there was, instead, a need for armed intervention inside these camps in order to maintain order. The M113 REV2 was the outcome of this ‘need’.

EM113REV2 Vehicle A without its bulldozer blade at Camp Bucca, Iraq. The vehicle is crewed by US Air Force personnel from the 886th Expeditionary Security Force. Source: Fairchild Air Force Base News.
In 2005, the US Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, started examining methods of entering internment camps where prisoners and detainees taken during the invasion of Iraq were held. Some of these camps had generated widespread disorder and taking armed Military Police into them posed the danger of the prisoners getting hold of lethal munitions. There was a secondary potential for using this vehicle for crowd control externally in riots as well.
The vehicles chosen for modification were Canadian M113A2’s, although why Canadian vehicles were selected is unclear. Converted, these would be redesignated ‘EM113A2 Rapid Entry Vehicle 2 (REV2)’. Four vehicles were converted and named EM113A2 REV 2A, B, C, and D respectively. Fitted with their bulldozer blade attachment, they were known as ‘SPIRAL 2’. The name had no relation at all to the SPIRAL cased telescoped ammunition development project.

EM113REV2 vehicle a SPIRAL 2 with armament and MCCM removed. Source: Griffen&lt

Fittings and Weapons

The vehicles were fitted with a bulldozer attachment to assist in clearing barricades. In order to allow them to be used with the hatches closed, improved periscopes were also fitted. The most obvious modification is that on the left and right-hand sides of the vehicle where large sections of the aluminum armor were cut out. Into these portals were put two large 3-panel windows in the troop compartment and a single window in the side of the crew space. Within the rear two panels was mounted a single firing port for a crew served weapon. No firing port was provided for the crew compartment. Below these two portals, on the bottom of the sidewall of the vehicle, were two boxes into which an M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition (MCCM) was placed. These could be detonated by the operators inside. Two further box-mounted MCCMs were fitted at the front, one on each corner for a total of 6 of these weapons. It appears, however, that the MCCM holders were added later, possibly in-theater, following the removal of the bulldozer blade as previous photos show the blade itself as mounting the two MCCM holders.

Rear view of the MCCM. The dimensions are identical to those of the Claymore mine (right). Source: jnlwp.defense.gov and wikimedia
Whilst the M5 MCCM is officially a ‘Non-Lethal Weapon’, the similarity to the Claymore mine is unmistakable, and whereas the explosive firing of 600 .32 caliber rubber balls into a crowd at high speed is going to be injurious, making a mistake and fitting an actual Claymore would be far more dangerous. The only difference between the M5 MCCM and the M18A1 Claymore is the addition of raised diamonds of the back-side of the M5 MCCM and the lighter green color used for the plastic body. The lack of differentiation is actually deliberate by the US Military to make the non-lethal weapon (NLW) appear like it is its normal lethal counterpart. The NLW Reference Book 2012 from the US Military actually states:

“The current US policy is not to change the appearance of NLW to distinguish them from their lethal counterparts, but rather develop systems that have a dual capability in delivering both lethal and non-lethal munitions/effects as the situation dictates. Several US allies have expressed a desire to clearly distinguish NLW from lethal weapons by some method, such as coloring NLW blue or orange. While this may be preferable in some situations, including crowd control and to avoid mistakenly using a lethal weapon, this is not preferred by the U.S. A NLW that is marked with distinct colors or markings would make it easy for an adversary to identify and counter that NLW”

– JNLWP 2012.

It should also be borne in mind that the term ‘non-lethal’ does not mean it is not lethal. The official US Army definition of the term from the Non-Lethal Weapons Program design requirements states:

“Non-lethal weapons: Weapons, device, and munitions that are explicitly designed and primarily employed to incapacitate targeted personnel or material immediately, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel and undesirable damage to property in the target area or environment. Non-lethal weapons are intended to have reversible effects on personnel or material”

– JNLWP 2016.

The range of the M5 MCCM is about 30 meters in an arc 60 – 80 degrees wide with a minimum safe distance of about 5 meters and is likely to cause blunt trauma injuries up to 15 meters away. Below this distance, the chance of people, likely in an unarmed crowd, being killed is very high. An additional hazard is the height at which the weapons are placed. According to GTA 10-01-004 ‘Nonlethal capabilities – M5 MCCM’ published by the US Army in 2001, the device may be lethal within 5 meters and should be placed on the ground or not more than 30 centimeters above it. In this way, the dispersal of the balls is clearly targeting the ankles, feet and lower legs of the crowd. This was far less likely to cause serious injury or death than one at adult-waist height is going to.

Arrangement of the M5 MCCM and EM870 shotgun in the M231 firing port seen from the outside. Source: Sebasto
The weapon ports fitted were of the same type as on the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and fitted with specially modified M870 Remington model 870 12-gauge pump action shotguns with a steel receiver. The guns had their barrels shortened and fitted with the M231 firing port adapter collar taken from the M231 Firing Port weapon from the M2 Bradley IFV. The shotguns could then be threaded into the firing port in the same manner as the 5.56mm firing port weapons on the Bradley had done.

M231 Firing port as fitted to the EM113A2 REV. Source: Adams

First model of modified M870 shotgun with M231 collar and modified grips. Source Adams
Standard lethal ammunition (00 ‘double-ought’ Buckshot) was available, as were non-lethal 12-gauge rounds including ‘Stingball’ (rubber balls) for area targets 10-30 metres away, a Fin-Stabilized round (single rubber sabot) for individual targets up to 20 metres away, and a Sock Round (weighed bag) for targets 30 to 55 metres away. Early tests with the non-lethal ammunition caused damage to the magazine support and barrel, and as a result, some further modifications were made. The collar was welded in place to the barrel, a new support was welded over the end of the magazine tube to the barrel to stop it detaching and some additional welds and screws were added to hold the barrel and magazine support in place. An attempt to add a second spring to help in recoil absorption was abandoned and the final weapon design settled upon. Just 5 such guns were made though, only enough for one vehicle plus one spare.

Second version of the M870 12-gauge shotgun modified for port firing use with M231 collar and magazine support welded in place. Source: Adams
The shotguns were fixed within the vehicle and were attached to the ventilation system taken from the early M2 Bradley IFV. These would vent the gases produced during firing, although a custom made fume hood had to be designed and fabricated from aluminum and mounted on the shotgun to attach to the fume extractors.

Interior view of the EM113A2 REV showing the M870REV shotguns fitted to the ventilation system and M231 firing ports. Source: Adams

Left to right. 12-gauge ‘non-lethal’ rounds. M1013 Area Round nicknamed ‘Stingball’, M1012 Point Round (Fin-Stabilized rubber bullet), and the ‘Sock’ round (a type of bean bag round). Source: JNLWP 2012.


The EM113A2 Rapid Entry Vehicle 2 (REV 2). Note the M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition (MCCM) mines mounted to the sides of the vehicle, and the ports for the shotguns.


The same EM113 REV2 in SPIRAL 2 configuration with dozer blade mounted.

Both illustrations were produced by Andrei ‘Octo10’ Kirushkin, funded by our Patreon Campaign.

Conclusion

There were four M113A2’s converted for use at TIC, but it is not known how much, if any use they got for the intended purpose of riot control, although there were problems at Camp Bucca before and after their deployment. It is not known if the vehicles were ever used outside the base or not, but the project was officially a success. The design team was awarded a prize for one of the top 10 military inventions of the year and two patents were applied for, one for the vehicle modification and another for the shotgun modification. Camp Bucca was closed in September 2009, but these vehicles do not seem to have been left there and are assumed to have been repatriated to the United States. Their location is not known.

EM113 REV2 Vehicle A without bulldozer blade with the 886th Expeditionary Security Forces seen at the Theater Internment Facility (TIF) at Camp Bucca, Iraq. The front-mounted MCCM holders are apparent. Source: Fairchild Air Force Base News

EM113 REV2 Vehicles A, B, and C as SPIRAL 2s with bulldozer blades fitted. Note the lack of front MCCM holders on the hulls. Source: NDIA

EM113A2 REV2 Vehicle A, now SPIRAL 2 with bulldozer blade fitted. Source: NDIA

EM113A2 REV2 Vehicle C SPIRAL 2 showing the roof-mounted vents. The MCCM holders on the side are empty and no weapons are mounted. Note the lack of front MCCM holders on vehicle C. Source: Sebasto

EM113A2 REV 2 Vehicle D seen with the design team including American and Canadian soldiers. Source: Adams

M113 APC specifications

Dimensions (L-w-H) 4.86 x 2.68 x 2.50 m (15.11 x 8.97 x 8.2 ft)
Total weight, battle ready 12.3 tonnes (24,600 lbs)
Crew 5 (Commander, Driver, 11 infantry)
Propulsion Detroit 6V53T, 6-cyl. diesel 275 hp (205 kW) P/w 22.36 hp/tonne
Transmission Allison TX-100-1 3-speed automatic
Maximum speed 42 mph (68 km/h) road/3.6 mph (5.8 kph) swimming
Suspensions Torsion bars
Range 300 miles/480 km
Armament Main: cal.50 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Browning M2HB MHG, 800 rounds
Sec: 2 portable M60 0.3 in (7.62 mm) – see notes.
Armor Aluminum alloy 12–38 mm (0.47–1.50 in)
Production (all combined) 80,000

Sources

US Army Awards Top 10 inventions of 2006. (2007). (Link)
Defenders perform unique OIF mission. (2008). Capt. Jason McCree. Fairchild Air Force Base News (Link)
International Infantry and Joint Services Small Arms System Symposium, Exhibition, and Firing Demonstration ‘Enhancing Small Arms Effectiveness in Current and Future Operations. (2008). National Defense Industrial Association.
Armaments Technology Seminar and Exhibition ‘Joint Munitions and Lethality Life cycle Management Command’. (2007). National Defense Industrial Association.
US Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) Update. (2007). Anthony Sebasto. ARDEC.
AMC Small Business Program. (2007). General Benjamin Griffen. US Army Materiel Command.
Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) Reference Book. (2012).
Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate Non-Lethal Weapons Program Requirements. (2016). (Link)
Nonlethal Capabilities, M5 MCCM. (2001). Headquarters, Department of the Army, US Army Training Support Command.
(Link)
M5 Modular Crowd Control Munition.Project Manager Close Combat Systems. US Army. (Link)

Categories
Modern American Other Vehicles

M113A2 Firefighting Vehicle

U.S.A. (1991 – 92) Firefighting Vehicle – 1 Modified

The M113, as one of the most widely produced military vehicles ever in use, saw a variety of roles and experiments for a multitude of military and non-military purposes. Following the 1990-1991 Gulf War, one of the lessons which had been learned was the lack of equipment to deal with large hydrocarbon fires. This included not just the Kuwaiti oil wells, but also the Iraqi use of oil-filled ditches. Set ablaze, these ditches would prevent bridging by Allied forces and also cause significant problems with visibility. There was, therefore, a significant military hurdle which required a solution, a tracked protected fire-fighting vehicle. One able to put out or suppress the burning ditch long enough for Allied forces to cross whilst at the same time being protected against enemy fire.
This project was to evaluate whether it was possible to repurpose an armored vehicle for this role and the obvious choice was the M113A2. The US Army’s Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) directed that experiments should be made for the conversion of the M113A2 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) into a specialized firefighting vehicle. NASA had already been using the M113 as a fire protected vehicle for astronaut evacuation for years, but it had no firefighting equipment added. This vehicle would simply make use of the cargo space inside the M113 to carry an apparatus in the hope of finding a quick solution to fight a burning oil-ditch fire.

M113A2 used for trials with the fire-fighting equipment fitted in the rear. Photo: USAF ESC

Modification

Work on the project was conducted by Applied Research Associates of New Mexico. A standard M113A2 fitted with an Amrex Corporation fire suppression system was modified to carry an internal skid-mounted tank. This tank, welded to the skid, held 250 US gallons (946 litres) of mixed water/fire suppressant and operated at between 200 and 240 psig (pounds per square inch – gauge). The tank system was very simple and could be quickly refilled by means of a 4” (101.6mm) filler cap on the top of it. The water used for the tests was salt-water. This is because this was the anticipated type of water expected to be sourced in a real-world application and was shipped to the test site by means of tank-truck for the trials.
This liquid mix was propelled by means of two 220 cubic foot (6.23 m³) nitrogen or compressed air cylinders operating at 2,000 psig, which would deliver 150 to 200 gallons per minute. With a tank of just 250 gallons this meant, at most, just under 2 minutes of fire-fighting time.
The work which had to be done to the M113A2 for the fitting of this equipment was relatively minor but started with the removal of the personnel heater system in the back and the commander’s seat. The decking, which was held in place by six large washered bolts, was removed, as was the antenna cover. In place of the antenna cover, the fire monitor itself was installed. The skid-mounted system was then installed in the rear by means of a fork-lift truck and bolted to the floor plate of the vehicle. Complete and ready to go, this whole system added 3,300 pounds (1,497 kg) to the weight of the vehicle; empty it weighed just 1,220 pounds (553 kg). A minor further modification was undertaken during trials. On 12th February 1991, the 40” (101.6 cm) long 2” (5.8 cm) diameter straight pipe nozzle on the monitor was replaced with a Task Force Tip F200 nozzle.

Skid mounted tank set up for addition to the M11A3 Firefighter. Source: USAF ESC

Use

It is obviously a poor idea to have a crew member exposed from the vehicle fighting a fire and even more so when possibly facing enemy action at the same time, so the vehicle was fitted with Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) to aid the crew. As a result, the crew of the M113A2 could use the monitor to disperse the water and fire-suppressant safe from within the armor of the vehicle. They could guide the nozzle delivery in elevation and in rotation by means of controls inside the vehicle. Those controls, were, however, a little too complicated for easy use, so it was suggested that they should be replaced with a simple lever system instead. This system would be easier to operate and maintain the existing 160 degrees of horizontal movement and -15 to +45 degrees of vertical movement which were felt to be adequate for the vehicle.
Different suppressants were tested including Pryrocap B-136, Hurri-Safe, Powdered Viscous Foam, Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) foam (MIL-F-24835C), Phirex, and Acu-Lite-F. Replacement of the propellant cylinders and refilling with water and fire-suppressant took just 7 – 10 minutes.

Testing

Once modifications had been made, the vehicles needed to be evaluated and this was carried out with the assistance of the US Air Force’s Engineering Service Center by their Fire Protection and Crash Rescue Research Branch at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. These tests were carried out between the 12th and 22nd February 1992.

Set up of test arrangements at Tyndall Air Force Base. Source: USAF ESC
To test the effectiveness of the platform as a firefighter, six different fire suppression agents were tested to evaluate the time it would take to extinguish the fire and burnback time. Further, the testing would evaluate the possible range of the apparatus and issues relating to servicing and replenishment.
The burning ditch anticipated to be crossed for any assault, such as was conducted against Iraqi forces, was modelled to be 10 feet wide (3 m) wide, 10 feet deep (3 m). For the test, a trench 96 feet (29 m) long was cut and fitted with a 15 inch (38 cm) high clay berm. The ditch was then partially filled with water and into it were poured between 250 and 500 US gallons (946 – 1893 litres) of JP-4 fuel. Testing would begin with the 250 gallons and then work up to the 500 gallons amount. Set on fire, this fuel, floating on the water, was considered an adequate simulation of the type of large hydrocarbon fires expected in the forthcoming campaign. During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, the Iraqis had dug ditches just like this, 3m wide and up to a mile long in places.
The vehicle was not expected to put the whole fire out, instead, it was being tested for its ability to extinguish an assault lane 10-15 feet (3 – 4.6 m) wide. The suppressant would then have to sit on top of the JP-4 without allowing it to reignite. The time taken for this to happen was one of the main test criteria. The longer it could suppress the flames the better, as it allowed more troops to cross the obstacle behind the M113A2. Five to six minutes was considered optimal for this ‘burnback’ time.
It was calculated that the 250 gallon tanks of the vehicle were sufficient to suppress a fire lane 10 feet (3 m) wide and up to 100 feet (30.5 m) long but the range from the monitor was just 70 – 80 feet (21 – 24 m) under ideal conditions with the wind behind it; it would be substantially less into the wind.

m113a2_fire_vehicle
Illustration of the M113A2 Firefighting Vehicle by William ‘Richtor’ Byrd, funded by our patreon Campaign.

Problems

The short range, just 24 metres, was a problem, as was the short duration of firefighting time, at less than 2 minutes. With a suppressant time of just 6 minutes at best and a refill time of 7 minutes also at best, the system was effectively unable to provide continual fire-suppression on the assault lane with anything other than the AFF which completely prevented burnback in some circumstances and no faster than 6.6 ft./min. (2 m/min). On a good day, it took no more than 20 seconds to extinguish the fire as required, meaning the system could deliver up to 5 or so operations on a single fill, assuming everything went to plan of course.
Fitted with CCTV cameras it was advantageous for the crew to operate the vehicle sealed within, especially given the likelihood of having to conduct operation under enemy fire. Without the CCTV cameras in use, the monitor-operator had to rely upon the periscopes for visibility in these first tests and, as such, they were unable to adequately direct the stream. Somewhat inextricable, rather than using the CCTV cameras for further tests, the monitor-operator was to don a fire-protective suit and operate the monitor from an open hatch which meant he had to expose his entire upper body. Done like this, the tests were successful and this was to be the recommended means of application regardless of the hazard to the exposed operator.

Set up of the clay berm around the burn pit. Source: USAF ESC

Comparisons

During these tests, a standard P-19 Firefighting vehicle, which was an unarmored vehicle fitted with a prototype armored body kit conforming to STANAG 2929, was often used to extinguish the fires, including the first tests where the crews had been unable to get any suppressant delivered. Through their 460 US gallon (1,741 litre) per minute, the P-19 extinguished the entire fire within 10-15 seconds and with that kit also provided a small amount of ballistic protection for the occupants too.

Conclusion

AFFF (6% mix) was found to be the most successful firefighting agent and the M113A2 had shown itself to be a capable platform for mounting the equipment and for fighting this type of fire. It was also the cheapest, at just US$75 a gallon/tankfull (1992 dollars), the equivalent of US$134.71 (2018 dollars).
Not only was the M113A2 seen as being suitable for this military firefighting assault vehicle role, but also for a variety of crash rescue and even civilian disaster needs too. The P-19 vehicle though was also protected from small arms like the M113, but already had a purpose designed and built firefighting apparatus which was far more capable. As it was, this M113A2 experiment was successful, but not adopted. The vehicle was presumably turned back into its original state following the tests.

An extra

Although not related to the vehicles, one final system for extinguishing these fires was tested. Seven 50 gallon (189 litre) cardboard barrels were placed along one end of the trench into each of which 80 pounds (36 kg) of dry ice (frozen CO2) topped off with liquid nitrogen (N2) were placed. Wrapped with detonation cord, these barrels were then detonated in the face of the fire. The idea was to blow off the fire with the explosion and then have the CO2 and N2 suppress burnback. The system did work preventing burnback for nearly 7 minutes, but this was not a practical approach.

Links & Resources

Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Firefighting Vehicle System. (1992). M.Wilson, J. Storm, G. Singh, C. Risinger. Air Force Engineering and Service Center, Florida