The Bradley Fighting Vehicle in both its M2 and M3 variants has faithfully served as the U.S. Army’s mainstay armored fighting vehicle and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) since 1981. It has proven its combat mettle in numerous conflicts, including the 1991 Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom), and the current Russo-Ukrainian War.
However, the Bradley is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. For all of its excellent performance across the decades, it has also shown its vulnerabilities — especially in Iraq and more recently during Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia. With that operation underway, five of the IFVs have reportedly been destroyed, and numerous others damaged.
With that in mind, the U.S. Army has recently unveiled the successor to the venerable Bradley: Say hello to the M10 Booker armored combat vehicle.
Booker M10 Double-Namesake
As my fellow military history buffs will know, the Bradley was named in honor of five-star Gen. Omar Nelson Bradley. By contrast, the Booker was named for two different enlisted men — one a private (E-1) and the other a staff sergeant (E-6) — which sounds like a big-time step down in prestige, until you dig further and realize the men in question both made the supreme sacrifice in combat.
The first half of the Booker combat vehicle’s namesake was Pvt. Robert D. Booker, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after being killed under heavy machine-gun fire in the vicinity of Fondouk, Tunisia, on April 9, 1943, during WWII. The other was Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, who was killed in Iraq on April 5, 2003, during the Thunder Run in Baghdad and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest honor.
Thus the M10 has the distinction of being the first U.S. Army vehicle to be named for a post-9/11 veteran, and the second to be named for two people (the first being the Stryker, named in honor of two Medal of Honor recipients: Pfc. Stuart S. Stryker, who served in World War II, and Spc. Robert F. Stryker, who served in Vietnam).
Booker M10 Specifications
The Booker M10 won the Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program. Some sources consider this to be a light tank, though the Army officially doesn’t buy into such semantics. As noted by Adrian Bonenberger in a recent article for Military.Com:
“The service unveiled the vehicle this week at the Pentagon in a briefing to reporters. The M10, which took four years to select and procure, resembles something between a Soviet BMP-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle and a small Abrams tank…With a 105mm main gun and an armored chassis reminiscent of the Soviet BMP-2, famed for being nearly impregnable from the front, the Booker is designed to give infantry hung up on fortifications the punch needed to break through any obstacle or position.
“It wasn’t without developmental issues, though [Assistant Secretary of the Army Doug] Bush assured reporters that the worst issues have been resolved. A problem in which toxic gas would fill the turret after the main gun was fired ‘is an issue that is behind us,’ and another where the vehicle would overheat under hot performance conditions was resolved after engineers fixed an air flow problem at the rear of the M10.”
The winner of the U.S. Army’s $1.14 billion contract is General Dynamics Land Systems, who provided additional technical info via a press release:
“The MPF vehicle employs a four-person crew and features an enhanced thermal viewer, a large-caliber cannon, a lightweight hull and turret, and a modern diesel engine, transmission and suspension system. It has been designed from the start for capability upgrades, based on future operational needs.”
Okay Then, Where To From Here?
The M10’s turrets will be manufactured in Ohio and the hulls in Michigan, and final assembly will take place in Alabama. Once full production capacity is reached, the Army expects to produce three new M10s per month. Vehicle production began early in 2023, and the Army expects the first delivery in 2024. A full battalion of 42 Booker Combat Vehicles is expected by late 2025, with the hope of ultimately fielding more than 500 M10s.
As stated by Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, ““It’s been a tremendously successful program … on schedule, on budget, and performing well in testing…It’s very exciting for us to name a new combat vehicle — this hasn’t happened, at least in my portfolio, since we fielded the Stryker — and to name it after two great American heroes … it’s just a fantastic thing to be a part of.”
Christian D. Orr is a former U.S. Air Force Security Forces officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). Chris holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and an M.A. in Intelligence Studies (concentration in Terrorism Studies) from American Military University (AMU). He has also been published in The Daily Torch and The Journal of Intelligence and Cyber Security. Last but not least, he is a Companion of the Order of the Naval Order of the United States (NOUS). In his spare time, he enjoys shooting, dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.