Welcome to the suggestion post for the XM1128! I’m not 100% sure on this being its official name, but for the sake of brevity, here it will refer to prototypes of the M1128 Mobile Gun System.
This vehicle will be in the same vein as the Type 16 (P) or Type 90 (B) in that it isn’t a major change gameplay wise, but is more of a lineup / filler vehicle. The vehicle does feature a few changes that wouldn’t have a major impact on gameplay, but would visually differentiate it from the M1128 in-game. I’ll go over these in the “changes” section. In War Thunder, the XM1128 could receive APFSDS ammunition such as the M833 or M774 as its best ammunition, which could bring its battle rating down for use with lower battle rating vehicles such as the MBT-70.
I’d appreciate any further information you have on the XM1128 or early production M1128s, including corrections and pictures. I mostly say this as information on the M1128 prototypes is rather limited as far as I could find. For now though, let’s find out some more about how the M1128 MGS came to be!
The end of the Cold War had mostly brought an end to the fears of a large scale war where heavily armored vehicles would be needed.
In June of 1999, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki stated in a communique, saying “our heavy forces are too heavy and our light forces lack staying power”, and that heavy units would have to be “more strategically deployable, and more agile with a smaller footprint, and light forces must be more lethal, survivable, and tactically mobile.” 4 months later, at an AUSA (Association of the United States Army) meeting, he would repeat these remarks, laying out a plan for a more light and easily transportable force, which would allow the US military to adapt to post-Cold War conditions. This would ultimately result in the IAV (Interim Armored Vehicle) program. The General Dynamics Land Systems - General Motors Defense design, a vehicle based on the Canadian LAV III, was awarded the contract, and at $4 billion USD, was the largest combat vehicle purchase since the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
A General Dynamics advertisement for the LPT, seen fitted on the LAV II.
As part of its new doctrine and the ongoing IAV program, the US Army required a Mobile Gun System, or MGS for short. The idea behind this was not just to be an anti-tank vehicle, but rather a vehicle that could support the new Stryker Brigade Combat Team. In this role, the MGS would create openings in walls, destroy bunkers and machine gun nests, and defeat sniper positions and light armor threats, all the while being effective against a range of threats including older Soviet tanks.
While about four companies put forth their submissions for the IAV program, only two teams submitted entries for the MGS design. The first was a joint team of General Motors Defense of Canada and General Dynamics Land Systems, who offered the LAV III as the basis for the MGS. The second team was United Defense, who proposed the M8 AGS, as well as two versions of the Mobile Tactical Vehicle Light featuring an AGS turret with a 105 mm and 90 mm gun respectively. In the end, the GM Defense and GDLS team’s design was selected in 2000, with GM Defense’s LAV III being fitted with GDLS’ Low Profile Turret. This was another victory for GM-GDLS as their infantry carrier submission for the IAV program had been accepted as well. The first XM1128 prototype was completed in 1999, with initial operating capability expected in December of 2001.
A picture of an LAV III with the LPT, later type classified as M1128, from Hunnicutt’s Armored Car: A History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicles.
Protests were raised by lawmakers and defense industry officials, including by United Defense LP, as the MGS, unlike the infantry carrier, was not to be evaluated on the Army’s proving grounds. There was also the issue that, after the contract was awarded, the initial operating capability was moved from December of 2001 to November of 2003. United Defense LP claimed that the Army had known about the schedule slippage before awarding the contract, and claimed the Army was biased in favor of the GM-GDLS design. They submitted an official protest in December of 2000, claiming the Army altered the competition to favor the winning contractors. In a January 2001 article from “Inside the Pentagon”, this complaint was provided with evidence and claims that the Army “unfairly helped GM-GDLS improve their proposed delivery schedule by identifying a system that could serve as a substitute while one GM-GDLS IAV is under development”. Despite this, United Defense LP later dropped any further action to overturn the decision on the IAV program in May of 2001.
Another picture from Hunnicutt’s book showing the LAV III with the LPT.
The first MGS, now designated as the M1128, was handed over to the US Army on July 26th, 2002, with 8 further pre-production vehicles being delivered until March of 2003. Low rate initial production began in December 2005, to total 72 M1128s in total. Full rate production was deferred indefinitely, even after a February 2008 approval by the Pentagon, and in total, 142 were built. Over the course of its life span, the M1128 would change to better suit the combat conditions it faced, and though it had a troublesome service life, it was a fascinating design for its time.
A pre-production M1128 undergoing live-fire testing.
An XM1128, noted by the thermal sleeve, black muzzle brake, lack of a 12.7 mm machine gun, and the gun mantlet side shape unique to the GDLS LPT.
The XM1128 featured a bank of 4 smoke dischargers on the rear of the turret, no 12.7 mm machine gun on the commander’s position, as well as no air conditioning unit. The latter was one of the major complaints by MGS crews, and crews were given cooling vests that circulated cooled water from outside the vehicle to the vest. Other changes include the side of the gun mantlet having a “waffle” shape to it, which is not seen on later M1128s. This is likely a carry over from the GDLS Low Profile Turret, as this design is seen on a number of other platforms which had it mounted, including the Teledyne AGS. The others are the thermal sleeve that is absent on later M1128s, as well as the “pepper pot” muzzle brake being covered by a sheet of metal on pre-production and production models.
An example of a pre-production M1128, note the lack of a thermal sleeve, smoke launchers moved from the back of the turret, and pintle mount for the added .50 caliber machine gun.
A production M1128, with a rail mount for the .50 caliber machine gun, a single smoke launcher bank on the commander’s side, and an air conditioning unit, which was added later on. This is similar to what is currently in-game.
Upgraded production M1128s saw several changes after years in service. Both pre-production and production M1128s saw a pintle mounted 12.7 mm machine gun for the commander’s position that would later change to a rail mounted one with a shield sometimes fitted, as well as an air conditioning unit, and the smoke dischargers being moved to the front of the turret. The smoke discharger banks on the commander’s side of the turret was reduced to just one on the production version. Some M1128s also received slat armor and a composite screen covering the wheels.
Details and dimensions of the low profile turret, from Armored Car: A History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicles.
- Crew: 3 (Commander, gunner, driver)
- Mass: 18.7 t
- Length: 6.95 m
- Width: 2.72 m
- Height: 2.64 m
- Main armament: 105 mm M68A1
- Ammunition stowed: 18 (8 in autoloader, 10 in replenisher)
- Secondary armament: 7.62 mm M240C coaxial machine gun
- Engine: 350 hp Caterpillar diesel
- Maximum speed: 96 km/h
- Operational range: 528 km
- Hunnicutt, R. P. Armored Car: A History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicles. Echo Point Books & Media, 2015.
- Schulze, Carl. Stryker: Interim Armored Vehicle. Concord, 2007.
- https://www.jstor.org/stable/43984265 (Part of the history section, on UDLP allegations against the IAV decision)
- Army Guide
- LAV III Mobile Gun Systems (MGS)
- MGS M1128 Stryker
- WarWheels.Net- M1128 Stryker MGS Index