Modern warfare comes with an enormous amount of variation, depending on location, ground terrain, scale of combat, and more. But how do you hope to support and protect the world’s skilled servicemen and women with just one dedicated armored vehicle that’s capable of every job? The short answer: You don’t. Today’s military personnel rely on a whole range of innovative armored vehicle solutions that work together to make sure that troops are equipped for every scenario.
These vehicles are developed with combat in mind — from their on-board firepower to special seats offering advanced blast protection. While there are too many types of military vehicle to list every single one, the following categories are the main types of armored vehicle that you can expect to find in a fully-equipped modern army setting.
Main Battle Tank
When the average person pictures a military armored vehicle, chances are they picture something like the classic Main Battle Tank (MBT). Often called a “universal tank” or just plain “battle tank”, these are the all-round star player in most modern armies. Heavily armored and boasting impressive firepower, these tanks are designed to engage in armor-protected direct fire. In certain scenarios, the Main Battle Tank may be substituted for a super-heavy tank for additional durability or a light tank for increased mobility. For the most part, though, the Main Battle Tank is relied on to bring the best of both worlds together in one fearsome package.
Light Armored Vehicles
The Main Battle Tank might be the go-to image of a military armored vehicle for most people, but it’s not the primary mobile platform for servicemen and women. For everyone from infantry to paratroopers that role is occupied by Light Armored Vehicles, offering a mobile solution that’s speedier and more mobile than a tank or Armored Personnel Carrier. A Light Armored Vehicle can often resemble a civilian 4×4, however, unlike a civilian vehicle, there’s far greater levels of armored protection, fire-power, and an improved ability to easily traverse difficult terrain.
Armored Personnel Carriers
These heavyweight vehicles come with a range of abilities, including capacity, mobility and, most of all, the ability to protect the personnel and equipment inside in combat zone scenarios. This is due to partial or complete armor plating to protect the vehicle and its inhabits against everything from bullets and shell fragments to an assortment of other projectiles.
APCs have been a part of the military vehicle arsenal dating back as far as the Western Front of World War I. Since then, they have continued to adapt to suit changing requirements. The latest major shift has seen many move away from the tracked vehicles of the past to wheeled vehicles in an 8×8 configuration. This offers not only improved mobility but, in many cases, greater levels of internal volume and payload capacity.
Infantry Combat Vehicle
Also referred to as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), these vehicles are designed for carrying infantry into battle as well as providing direct-fire support. Unlike an Armored Personnel Carrier — which is armed for self-defense only and is not intended to act as a combat vehicle — ICVs or IFVs are intended to act as an offensive weapons system in their own right. Positioned somewhere between a Main Battle Tank and a Light Armored Vehicle, Infantry Combat Vehicles fill a gap in the market by being capable of providing high firepower, but also being cheaper and easier to look after than a larger tank. An indispensable part of the modern combat vehicle landscape.
Mine-Protected Armored Vehicle
Also called Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Mine-Resistant All Terrain (M-ATV) vehicles, these light tactical military vehicles are used to provide ballistic and mine protection for armed forces. Mine-protected vehicles have been used around the world for more than a decade as the usage of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has increased. There are various different models segmented into sedan, SUV, bus, and other vehicle types. This depends on the scenario they are required to participate in — ranging from command-and-control or explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) missions to convoy support or medical evacuation. The one thing they all have in common? An impressive ability to withstand IED attacks; making them a vital player in modern warfare threat environments.
Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Vehicles
Like Mine-Protected Armored Vehicles, Anti-Aircraft Vehicles can take a variety of forms. Models depend on the unique requirements of the battlefield: from smaller, more mobile 4×4 models like the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger to larger models reminiscent of an Infantry Combat Vehicle. What unites all of them is their purpose: the ability to fire Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) or rapid-firing guns able to protect ground troops from aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, and more. As their name suggests, Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Vehicles are designed to traverse the battlefield under their own power. That makes them more versatile than fixed weapons which must either remain stationary or rely on another vehicle to transport them.
A Logistics Truck isn’t designed to be used as an offensive combat vehicle. Nor will it be the first port of call when it comes to ferrying infantry or other troops into a combat zone. So why is it one of the most important vehicles on this list? Because without it many of the other vehicles would never reach the combat zone to begin with. Logistics Trucks are designed to transport military vehicles from point to point, saving on valuable wear and tear. They are specially designed to transport vehicles that range in size from a smaller Mine-Protected Armored Vehicle all the way up to a 70-ton Main Battle Tank. While not intended for direct combat, these vehicles can handle the challenges of a threat environment, courtesy of ever-improving blast-proof protection for both driver and crew.
A vehicle for every task
These are just some of the categories of armored vehicle that play a part in modern combat. But it nonetheless shows off not only some of the most important types of vehicles relied on, but also how they work together; carrying out purposes and missions to support the overall goal. Long may this kind of innovation continue.