M8 Thunderbolt Armored Gun System Background
The M8 Armored Gun System was developed by United Defense Industries to meet the requirements of the US Army for an air deployable Armored Gun System to replace the M551 Sheridan. The first prototype was completed in 1985 and several more were built until cancelation of the project by the Army in 1997. It was designed and photographed to have different levels of add-on armor and used a 105mm main gun.
M8 Thunderbolt Demonstrator
In 2003 United Defense Industries unveiled its Thunderbolt 120mm Demonstrator (not a final design or prototype) as the Army still needed an AGS.
It was to demonstrate that a 20 tonne class vehicle could successfully use a 120mm smoothbore main gun and in addition had new turret armor and hybrid electric propulsion system. It could be fitted with a rubber tracks.
M8 Thunderbolt aka AGS 120 Status
In 2005 BAE Land Systems bought United Defense Industries and inherited the vehicle. In 2006 BAE, now calling the vehicle AGS 120 put it on display at Asian Aerospace 2006 and it hasn’t been seen since.
M8 Thunderbolt Specifications
• Crew: 3
• Height: 2.54 meter
• Length: 5.33 meter (hull)
• Main Gun Caliber: 120 millimeter smoothbore fires HEAT and FIN
• Width: 2.69 meter
• Max Range: 500 kilometer
• Power: 550 hp (410 kW)
• Cross Country Speed: 14 mps (50 kph)
• Top Speed: 21 mps (76 kph)
• Weight Combat Weight: 25,000 kilogram