Development of the Bradley began in the late 1950s, when the U.S. Army began seeking a replacement for the aging M113 APC. However, despite beginning development relatively early, the successor to the M113 wouldn’t enter service with the Army in the following two decades.
The reason behind this was the constantly changing specifications, requirements and doctrines around which the new vehicle would be designed. The constantly changing requirements on the other hand, were driven by various technical and political problems arising during development.
Eventually, in 1979, the final design was presented to the Army and production was approved shortly afterwards in 1980. The Bradley, named after WW2 Army General Omar Bradley, was split into two versions, both closely resembling each other, but featuring minor differences and intended for different roles.
While the M2 Bradley was intended as an IFV, capable of transporting and supporting infantry units in combat, the M3 Bradley CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle) is intended to perform scouting and reconnaissance work, ditching its infantry-carrying ability in favor of improved communications systems and increased ammunition capacity.
The Bradley entered service with the U.S. Army in 1981 and saw extensive combat use during the Gulf War as well as subsequent conflicts. Despite several (unsuccessful) efforts being made to replace the Bradley with a newer design, the vehicle still remains in active service with U.S. armed forces today, with over 6,500 units produced.