The M557 APC (armored personnel carrier) is the product of a USCMC requirement for a cheap, lightweight APC that can be deployed from a dropship. The M577 is very mobile, and well-armed enough to function as a multi-role vehicle within the structure of a lightly-armed fast attack force.
Chassis & Hull Construction:
The drivetrain is of 4x4 wheeled configuration, receiving power from an Arco Continental R370 Gas Turbine with a 286Kw output. 286 kW multiple fuel gas turbine. Solid rubber, low profile tires are wrapped around the vehicle's massive hubs, impervious against small caliber rounds and shrapnel.
The M577's chassis is composed of bonded titanium around a 5 cm thick floor cavity that guards against anti-personnel mines. The hull is welded from light titanium alloys and latched or bonded to the chassis. Interior hull surfaces are lined with boron carbide tiles covered with polymer resin 2mm thick, providing limited ablative protection from lasers penetrating the outer hull. Weight restrictions allow for very limited armor protection, capable of stopping shrapnel, small arms fire, and low-velocity armor piercing rounds.
Two crew, the driver and section commander, are responsible for vehicle operation. Provisions are provided for twelve passengers, with restraint yokes for orbital combat drops. The spacious interior is capable of storing materiel sufficient for three days of combat, although this amount of gear causes the vehicle to become quite cramped. Rear of the cockpit is the Tactical Operations Center, wherein the section commander maintains contact with the squad with audio and video feeds, monitoring combat in real-time on several video displays.
Sensors, Stealth, & Defensive Systems:
The driver's main field of view is provided via a forward window of armored quartz crystal, with supplemental periscope ports for observation of the sides of the vehicle. Multi-function displays at the driver's and commander's locations provide a sensor enhanced view of the combat area surrounding the APC.
Sensors consist of: a thermal imager, TV camera with magnification from 4 to 20x, UV detector, and motion tracker. Millimeter-wave targeting radars are slaved to the forward gun emplacement and main turret. The slab-sides of the hull give the vehicle a large radar cross section. Radar absorbent material has been applied to the outer skin, with limited success. All defenses can be controlled by computer logic system, the commander, or driver.
For such a light purpose vehicle, the M577 mounts substantial firepower. A small turret traversing the APCs forward arc mounts two Republic Electric RE700 20mm Gatling cannons, supplied with a 1700 round multi-feed ammo bin. Available rounds include: High Explosive, High Explosive Armor Piercing, and Swarm type Anti-Personnel flechette rounds.
The main weapon of the M577 is mounted in a fully traversable, self-contained turret assembly on a rail that continues down the rear of the vehicle. Motors allow it to be moved and stowed on the vehicle's rear, allowing it to fit within a dropship or shuttle bay. Fire control can be automatic or under the discretion of the vehicle commander. The main railgun can mount any of three cannon. The M577A uses two 20mW Boyars PARS 150 Phased Plasma Cannon. They fire superheated 5 gram Cadmium Telluride pellets at a range of 4000m. Each cannon carries 1000 pellets.The M577A2 mountd two Republic Dynamics 40mW free-electron lasers fueled by a 10mW hydrogen fuel cell. They have a range of 3000m and can be used to blind the enemy's vision or sensors, or can be amplified enough to burn a hole in armor. The M577A3 uses two 20MeV turbo-alternator powered particle beam cannons. They have a destructive range of 3000m, with a longer range to disrupt enemy hardware.The cannons can fire for 50 seconds before needing to be refueled. Other variants have used anti-aircraft weaponry also.
Even though the M577 has many trade-offs and limitations inherent in its design, it has remained the primary workhorse APC for the USCMC. This role is a result of the M577's dropship portability, mobility, toughness, and heavy firepower. These features allow it to function as an effective part of the Marines' rapid assault force structure.
Vehicle Type:Armored Personnel Carrier
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