Infantry fighting vehicle

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An infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is a relatively new combination of functions, and is a subset of armored fighting vehicles. It is armed and armored, but carries soldiers that can fight from inside or outside. In many ways, it is helpful to understand what it is not:

  • An IFV is not an armored personnel carrier or "battle taxi", that protects troops moving to the battlefield, where they dismount and fight
  • An IFV is not a light tank, intended for independent reconnaissance but with the firepower to support infantry and defend itself against substantial threats
  • An IFV is not intended to be dropped by parachute or carried by helicopters, although it can be flown in medium and larger fixed-wing transport aircraft
  • While it may have a scout/reconnaissance variant, that is not its primary function

Different nations have different priorities and assumptions. For example, the British do not assume that infantry will fight from inside an IFV, and do not provide gunports. Their IFVs, however, will move on the battlefield with its infantry dismounts, and give them fire support.

While none have guns that can defeat the armor of a modern main battle tank, and certainly cannot withstand the main gun of such an opponent, they may, as with the U.S. Bradley and its BGM-71 TOW, have an antitank missile with greater range than a tank gun. Faced with a MBT, the role of an IFV is to fire at long range and run away if it does not kill the tank.

Country IFV Predecessors Current scout vehicle
Germany Puma Marder Lynx
United Kingdom Warrior FV432 Scorpion, Scimitar
United States M2 Bradley IFV M-113 M2 Bradley CFV

Some vehicles, such as the U.S. Army Stryker and U.S. Marine Corps LAV series, derived from the Canadian LAV III light-armored vehicle, a design modified from the Swiss Mowag Piranha, are wheeled, and intermediate in protection between APCs and IFVs.