The M548A3 is an unarmored full-tracked vehicle that provides transportation of ammunition and general cargo to forward areas in support of field units. The vehicle is capable of carrying a six-ton payload and four men sitting abreast in its cab.
The rear cargo deck accommodates the transport of troops and/or materiel. The M548A3 is transportable in C130 and C141 aircraft, will ford water up to 40 inches deep and travels easily over rough terrain and highways. The 7.62mm or .50 caliber machine gun can be mounted over the cab and operated from a hatch in the cab roof.
Much of the initial justification for upgrading the M548 vehicles to A3 configuration stems from "Volcano" mine dispensing kit. The "Volcano" is a special purpose kit which is found in U.S. Army engineer units. The kits are installed and removed by operators.
Incorporation of the RISE powerpack in the M548 was initiated on the depot rebuilt line in 1994 as M548A1s were converted to M548A3s. The powerpack, a 275 HP, turbocharged 6V53T Detroit Diesel engine coupled to a 4-speed X200-4 Allison hydrostatic steer transmission increases fuel economy, acceleration, hill climbing speed, and braking capabilities and allows the vehicle to maintain speed through corners by accelerating the outer track rather than braking the inner track. This increase in horsepower provides mobility comparable to currently fielded vehicles such as the M1 tank and M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Steering is improved with an automotive-type steering yoke and foot brake arrangement that improves driver control, lessens fatigue and simplifies driver training. The M548A3 is also equipped with an NBC protective face mask system.
Other M548A3 changes could include:
* Water/Ration Heater
* PLGR Brackets
* Relocation of Decontamination Apparatus
* Improved Cold Start Kit