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The Sheridan was an armored reconnaissance/airborne assault vehicle rather than a tank. Its hull was made of aluminum and its turret was made of steel, making it light compared to most tanks at the time. It was designed to be quick, maneuverable, and capable of being airdropped for reconnaissance missions rather than direct armor combat. It was armed with a 152mm gun/missile launcher capable of firing both Shillelagh infra-red guided missiles and a variety of conventional ammunition. However, the 152 mm gun was too large and firing it caused the entire vehicle to recoil, interfering at times with the missile electronics.
The M551A1, seen here, was upgraded with a laser range finder and a target designation system, making its weapons systems quick and accurate. The original M551 was used in Vietnam by many cavalry units.
Weight: 17 Tons
Crew: 4 – Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver
Armament: Turret: 152mm gun/missile launcher, 7.62mm machine gun, .50-caliber machine gun
Gun Launcher Ammunition: MGM-51C Anti-Tank Missile, High Explosive Anti-Tank, High Explosive, APERS, Canister
Armor: Hull – aluminum alloy, Turret – cast homogenous steel
Fuel Capacity: 158 gal
Speed: 45 mph Range: 350 miles
Produced: 1662 total M551s and M551A1s
Year Fielded: 1968