Home Americas US Army names its new “light tank” M10 Booker

US Army names its new “light tank” M10 Booker

M10 Booker Mobile Protected Firepower combat vehicle
The M10 Booker combat vehicle displays its namesake on the gun tube during the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the US Army, June 10, 2023. Photo: US Army

On the occasion of its 248th birthday, the US Army revealed it renamed its new Mobile Protected Firepower combat vehicle as the M10 Booker, in honor of two heroic soldiers.

The naming ceremony, attended by top Army officials, took place on Saturday afternoon at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The former Mobile Protected Firepower platform was named after Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross recipient who died in the 2003 Iraq invasion, and Pvt. Robert D. Booker, a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in Tunisia in 1943.

Both soldiers received awards for their heroic actions in combat. Stevon A. Booker died on April 5, 2003, while serving as a tank commander with Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor of the 3rd Infantry Division. The 34-year-old Apollo, Penn., native was killed in action near Baghdad while serving in Iraq during the “Thunder Run” mission as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Pvt. Booker carried a light machine gun and a box of ammunition over 200 yards of open ground on April 9, 1943, in the vicinity of Fondouk, Tunisia. He continued to advance despite the fact that two enemy machine guns and several mortars were using him as an individual target. Although enemy artillery also began to register on him, upon reaching his objective he immediately commenced firing. After being wounded he silenced one enemy machine gun and was beginning to fire at the other when he received a second mortal wound. With his last remaining strength he encouraged the members of his squad and directed their fire.

“Their stories and actions articulate the Army’s need for the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle, an infantry assault vehicle that will provide protection and lethality to destroy threats like the ones that took the lives of these two soldiers,” the US Army said.

The M10 Booker will be delivered by General Dynamics Land Systems under a $1.14 billion contract from June 2022.

The company will be delivering up to 96 combat vehicles, with MPF representing the Army’s first new design vehicle fielded in over four decades. The service plans to have the first unit equipped by late fiscal year 2025.

Officials expect to receive the first production vehicles in November this year. The service plans to buy a total of 504 of the light tanks by 2035.

The new vehicle is designed to provide infantry brigades greater survivability, the ability to identify threat systems earlier and at greater distances, and to enable movement in off-road terrain. MPF will also allow soldiers to move at a faster pace, protecting the assaulting force.

While the M10 has the appearance of a main battle tank, the US Army is not classifying it as such. It should be noted that the 42-ton M10 Booker is much lighter than an M1 Abrams MBT, which weighs over 70 tons. Additionally, the Booker is expected to cost roughly 50 percent less than the Abrams, with a vehicle cost of around $12.9 million.