The Army had to end an October test of the newest Bradley upgrade early when toxic fumes entered the turrets and crew cabins of all six test vehicles, according to a new report from the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation.
"This is a safety hazard to soldiers," states the annual report, which was released Jan. 13. "The program manager was present during test and observed the turret battery issue. He supported the recommendation to suspend the remaining maneuver missions."
Turret batteries on all six vehicles overheated during the fifth round of testing at Ft. Hood, TX, which created the toxic fumes, according to the report. A gunnery event has been delayed until the turret battery issue has been fixed.
The test did not identify other problems with the upgrade program, the Bradley Engineering Change Proposal.
The program will upgrade the suspension, electrical system and powertrain of the Bradley vehicles to compensate for the increased weight of previous upgrades. Bradley M2A3 and Operation Desert Storm vehicles will be upgraded to the M2A4 version, and M7A3 Bradley Fire Support Team vehicles will be converted to the M7A4.
Before the turret battery problem was identified, the Bradley upgrade completed a cooperative vulnerability and penetration assessment and an adversarial assessment, according to the report.
DOT&E will publish an operational and live fire test report in the second quarter of FY-21, before a scheduled materiel release decision in the third quarter of the fiscal year.