M577A1 Armoured Command Vehicle ARN 134456

Places
Accession Number AWM2016.28.1
Collection type Technology
Object type Vehicle
Physical description Aluminium, Glass, Paint, Rubber, Steel
Maker Food Machinery Corporation
Place made United States of America
Date made c 1964
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
East Timor, 1999-2013
Description

A fully tracked light weight Armoured Command Vehicle (ACV) based on the hull of an M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier with a higher roof to the rear of the driver's position. The hull is of all-welded aluminium armour, which provides the occupants with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle on the left side with the power pack to the right. The driver is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear. The power pack compartment is to the right of the driver's position and is fitted with a fire extinguishing system that can be operated by the driver or from outside the vehicle. The air inlet and outlet louvres and the exhaust pipe outlet are in the roof and there is an engine access door in the front of the hull that hinges forwards.

The torsion bar suspension on either side consists of five dual rubber-tyred road wheels with the drive sprocket at the front and the idler at the rear. The first and last road wheel stations are provided with a hydraulic shock-absorber. There are no track return rollers. This example carries the Australian Army registration Number 134456 stencil-painted onto the right hand side above the drive sprocket. Height to top of commander's hatch: 2.5 m. Length 4.8 m; width (minus track shrouds) : 2.54 m. Weight: 11.4 tonnes. Engine: 210 hp 6 cylinder diesel.

The Memorial's vehicle is largely complete on the exterior, with the exception of its Auxiliary power unit generator (normally mounted on the front to the right side of the driver); the davit and block and tackle and cable (normally stowed on the top deck); its covered extension and covered extension framework (legs, bow poles, ridge poles eaves poles and staking pins, mounted in brackets on the rear of the vehicle above the ramp), pioneer equipment (shovel fitted on the glacis plate above the fording trim vane, and axe, sledge hammer and crow bar fitted to the top deck near the aft of the vehicle) and both sets of track shrouds. Spare track stowage (normally on the left hand side of the glacis plate below the drivers lights) is missing. The vehicle's ballast plates and their end brackets are missing from the top left rear. Four lifting attachments have been removed from the upper deck, and are held in separate storage. The vehicle's map board (stowed in side the vehicle on the right side wall) is missing, as are the folding personnel seats and their retaining straps. The drop leaf supports on both side of the vehicle are fabricated from plywood, painted green. The veneer in both leaves shows significant signs of delamination.

The vehicle's exterior is painted in the Australian Army's late 20th century three colour disruptive camouflage scheme of light tan brown, khaki and black. This is a sprayed finish, with diffuse edges.

History / Summary

This vehicle was designed as a command post and staff office. It carries a four man team, plus the driver. More than 7300 vehicles of the M577 family were built, of which 3863 were M577A1 examples. The Memorial's example was one of 58 such vehicles acquired by the Australian Army between 1965 and 1974. It was deployed to South Vietnam in 1966, remaining until 1971.

Both the cavalry and the tank squadron headquarters were equipped with an ACV. The tank squadron's ACV was equipped with both American and British radio sets, but this example, serving with the cavalry, was equipped only with American radios. Whilst serving with A Squadron, 3 Cavalry regiment in January 1969, the vehicle was equipped with five radios: three AN/GRC 125, one AN/VRC 49 and one AN/GRC 106. AS 1729/VRC antenna units were mounted externally, and an RC-292 could be set up outside the vehicle when it was in a static role. This antenna provided significantly more range for the vehicle's radios. ARN 134456 was deployed to several Fire support Bases, including FSB Coral in May June 1968. During the attack on the FSB, the vehicle's generator housing was struck by an RPG.

The vehicle was also deployed to East Timor in 1999, serving with 5th/7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (5/7RAR). It was acquired from the Australian Army in June 2016.