BAE Systems has unveiled a new version of the M8 Buford light tank at the AUSA 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.. The M8 Buford design dates back to the late 1980’s when the US Army was pursuing a replacement vehicle for the M551 Sheridan. The M8, built by United Defense beat out competing designs by Teledyne Continental Motors and Cadillac Gage. By 1997 the M8 program was cancelled, it’s intended role somewhat being filled by the Stryker. According to an article from Defense One:
“The intent of what we have out here is a conversation starter,” said Deepak Bazaz, BAE Systems’ director of New and Amphibious Vehicles, standing by his company’s M8 Armored Gun System.
The Army does not a formal requirement yet for what it calls a mobile protected firepower unit, but it could soon, prompting BAE to bring the unit to the Association of the U.S. Army annual gathering in Washington.
The Army suspended work on a similar project in the mid-1990s, “but the need really remains,” Bazaz said. “It’s emerging again with the changing world that we live in.”
The article notes that the M8 on display is one of the original vehicles built in the 90’s and has not yet been upgraded with modern electronics and sensor gear. United Defense (now owned by BAE) had built six M8 prototypes in the 90’s.