The Army’s new assault gun will be the first combat vehicle named for a post-9/11 soldier, Army leaders said Thursday, adding that they’d fixed problems such as toxic gun exhaust filling the turret.
The vehicle produced by the Mobile Protected Firepower program will now be known as the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle.
The name is in honor of Staff Sgt. Stevon Booker, a tank commander who was killed in action during the U.S. Army’s 2003 surprise strike on Baghdad, later dubbed the “thunder run.” It also honors Pvt. Robert Booker, who was killed in World War II while attacking a German machine-gun post, for which he posthumously received the Medal of Honor. The designation also echoes the M10 tank destroyer used in WWII.
The $18 million Booker is an armored, tracked vehicle designed to support infantry during assaults by destroying enemy bunkers and lightly armored vehicles with its 105mm gun. The 38-ton vehicle can be transported by air. A recent GAO report called the Booker a “bright spot” in Army acquisition and noted its successful use of rapid prototyping.
The Army has fixed a previously reported problem in which the gun turret filled up with toxic fumes, said Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems.
” Dean assured reporters that the issue was resolved on Thursday.
The U.S. has enough 105mm rounds for training, said Assistant Army Secretary for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Doug Bush during the briefing.
An April report by the Congressional Research Service said U.S. ammunition factories might strain to make enough 105mm rounds, some of which are being shipped to Ukraine.
The Army plans to buy 377 Bookers. Dean said the first production models will be delivered in November, with enough to equip a first battalion by late 2024 or early 2025. He did not name the unit that would be responsible for testing new vehicles.
The Army announced in 2021 that it was seeking replacements for its Stryker armored fighting vehicles, which have an outdated cannon and autoloader and lack protection against anti-tank mines.
Dean said the Booker’s design has not been shaped by lessons from Ukraine, a war that is “too young for drawing the sorts of conclusions that would change requirements” for a combat vehicle.
Ukraine is now conducting assaults in southern Ukraine against heavily entrenched Russian positions, a combat environment for which the Booker is designed. A photo posted on Russian social media channels purported to show that Russia had knocked out multiple Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and a Leopard 2A6 tank.
General Dynamics Land Systems is building the Bookers in Lima, Ohio and Michigan, with vehicle assembly being done in Anniston, Alabama, Dean said.
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