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M163 Vulcan Air Defense System

The M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) is an M-113A1 APC variant (designated the M-741) fitted with the General Dynamics M168 Vulcan (a variant of the M61 Vulcan), consisisting of 6 x 20mm barrels grouped on a geared motor, firing 3,000 rounds per minute. The M163, M163A1 (entered service in 1968) and M163A2 Vulcan systems were produced starting in the early 1960s to replace the M42 Duster. The 20mm Vulcan cannon is mounted in a power operated turret with a US Navy Mk 20 Mod 0 lead computing sight and range-only radar on the right side of the turret.

M163 Vulcan was intended to be used in conjunction with the M48 Chaparral Air Defense System. Vulcan was optimized for fast interception of short-range targets while Chaparral was meant for longer range engagements of 3-5 nm.

4th Infantry Division M163 Vulcan Air Defense System, National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, CA, 10 March 1987
4th Infantry Division M163 Vulcan Air Defense System, National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, CA, 10 March 1987.

Today in WW II: 23 Apr 1941 Greece surrenders to Germany and Italy. British Commonwealth troops along with elements of the Greek Army withdraw to Crete.   

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS)

Although designed primarily as an air defense system, like its predecessors the M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) found additional roles in infantry support. During the 1982 Israeli IDF campaign in Beruit, for example, the 20mm antiaircraft gun with its high-elevation capability proved extremely useful against upper-level floors in tall buildings.

The M-163 Vulcan series was replaced in 1993 by the Air Defense Artillery Target System (ADATS) mounted on an M-2 Bradley and the Avenger, a HMMWV with Stinger surface to air missile system.

Vigilante, an M163 Vulcan prototype, on T249 tracked carriage, at U.S. Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, 7 March 2009.  Vigilante was cancelled in the early 1960s.  Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Axilbund
Vigilante, an M-163 Vulcan prototype, on T249 tracked carriage, at U.S. Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, 7 March 2009. Vigilante was cancelled in the early 1960s. Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Axilbund.

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005
M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005
M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. The bumper number of this vehicle is dedicated to Staff Sgt. Jimmy Haws, Battery C, 4th Bn, 5th Air Defense Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division who was killed in Operation Desert Storm 20 February 1991. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005
M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS)
M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) from Ft. Bliss ADA.

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS)
M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) from Ft. Bliss ADA.

M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS)
M-163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS) from Ft. Bliss ADA.

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