Vigilante T249/T250 AA System


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3 June 2011
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If you thought the GAU-8 on the A-10 was something this was a 37mm gatling gun. ISTR they tested up to 40mm but it didn't ever make it on a chassis.


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In 1958 I worked as a contract draftsman at Sperry Utah on the Vigilante. It has only taken me 48 years to see what the complete vehicle looked like. Thank you.
Couple of questions about the Vigilante:

What was the rate of fire of the 37mm gun ?

What would it's effective range have been ?

What chassis was it based on an M113 ?

Did G.E. produce the gun and was the GAU8 derived from it ?

sferrin said:
If you thought the GAU-8 on the A-10 was something this was a 37mm gatling gun. ISTR they tested up to 40mm but it didn't ever make it on a chassis.

I just found this site after having a thread on it mentioned another discussion board I visit. This picture of the T249 is at least 5 years old and I think actually many more. This picture was taken on the old 'Mile of Tanks' at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The old Mile was disassembelled for reasons I won't go into now. Although in some ways it was a shame that such an impressive display is gone it did make some of the deterioration of the vehicles obvious and has enabled some to be put through the 'refurb facility' at Aberdeen (No they don't make them run but they do cleanup, patch, clean up environmentally dangerous paint and lubricants and repaint them with modern (non lead based) paint)

The T249 has been through refurb and last time I was at Aberdeen ( a couple weeks ago) ws sitting outside the refurb facility. I get up there on a semi-regular basis and volunteer at the Ordnance Museum so if anyone is interested I can see what is in the records there (some of the vehicle records are pretty thin, some are better)

Bob Smart (
Sorry to re-awaken an old thread but I was wondering, does anybody have a three-view drawing of the T249 Vigilante?
Kadija_Man said:
Sorry to re-awaken an old thread but I was wondering, does anybody have a three-view drawing of the T249 Vigilante?

Hunnicutt's Bradley book has a three-view of the chassis, but without the turret.


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You're welcome. I went over the book again, just in case, but there was no three-view of the turret.
Kadija_Man said:
Similar but not the same. Note the lack of an elevated driver's position in this photo as against the picture at the start of the thread.

That driver's position made me wonder, if it perhaps could be lowered ? If used against ground targets rotation of
the turret would have been hindered, and according to the linked site the gun was intended to be used against
such targets, too.
Was there any radar associated with the US Vigilante system or was it visual sights only? Do you know of any drawings of this vehicle? I assume its an M113 chassis?
Vigilante had an onboard radar, mounted just above the missile pod--though the intent was to provide an all-in-one-vehicle search and engagement capability, it's likely that this would have been supplemented by a dedicated early-warning radar set accompanying the battery.

The test vehicle was M113-based, though the plan was to move the system onto a chassis based on the M551 Sheridan.
You are confusing Vigilante, which was a 37mm galting gun system, with Mauler which was the radar command guided missile.

Vigilante didn't have radar, just like the M42 duster it was supposed to replace didn't. The horrendous US Army experience with the on mount radar of Skysweeper was almost certainly a factor in that. Chassis was indeed a M113, though I'm not sure it really was lengthened as some sources have claimed. If it was, I've seen it in person before they removed one from Aberdeen, it wasn't by much and it still had five road wheels per side, unlike the planned six wheeled version for the operational Mauler.
“Bradley: A History of American Fighting and Support Vehicles” by R. P. Hunnicutt has a section on air defence versions of the M113 which provides some Vigilante details including quite a bit of information and imagery. It mentions and portrays the Vigilante B (self propelled version, Vigilante A was the towed version) with the “XM17 radar target alarm” (aka surveillance radar). There is quite a bit more information and pictures about Vigilante from this source that I can follow up in another post but don’t have the time right now.


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other informations


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I haven't had a chance to read it yet but six pages and a .pdf including PH data on the Vigilante. Good work that man! Or in this case: Good work that Tround!
Thanks for reviving this one. I would like to add another detailed source of information on this subject, from the Springfield Armory Museum:,SPECIFIC=10839,DATABASE=objects

I have been trying to resolve a question about the ammunition used for some time. and in particular the ballistics; there is some confusion because two different guns were developed, the T250X-1 and T250-X2. Also, two cartridges were developed, a "long" and a "short" one (37 x 255 and 37 x 217), both firing the same projectile. I have examples of both in my collection, as shown below:


Interestingly, the information in this Springfield document states that in July-Dec 1957 consideration was given to "shortening the ammunition case 1 1/2 inches" for the model X-2. That implies pretty clearly that the long round came in the X-1, the short one in the X-2.

However, the document posted by Tround in May 2013 includes a data sheet which quotes the muzzle velocities as 3,000 fps standard (I can't quite make out the designation - is it T423E-22?), or 3,600 fps for the "improved" version. This implies that the short round came before the long one, since the long one will obviously be associated with the higher muzzle velocity. Yet another oddity is the photo of the ammo in this report seems to be of the long-cased one.

I am inclined to believe the Springfield report, because my two examples are headstamped 1957 (long) and 1960 (short).

I understand that only two actual gun systems were built: one on a towed mounting, the other one on the tracked SPAAG mounting. I wonder if they both fired the 37 x 217 ammo or if one came in 37 x 255?
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I thought all these vehicles were being moved to Fort Lee in Petersburg.

What exactly is left at Aberdeen? It's been at least 15 years since my brother and I went there, probably closer to 20. The Elephant was being refurbished at the time and wasn't available and the museum was undergoing renovation and wasn't available either...
My understanding is that—out of three prototypes—the sole survivor is now at the Army Air Defense Artillery museum, Fort Sill. In the past, this same vehicle was at Aberdeen Army Ordnance Museum and the photos were taken there.

A few older pictures from Ft. Sill:
I always thought that the use of an M113 hull was a mistake. It required the crew to operate outside in an NBC environment to reload or replenish the gun. They would have been better off with a proper link system and the use of a larger vehicle, such as an M109 to carry the gun and increased ammunition supply. They could have designed it with easily replaced magazines to carry the ammunition.
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The competition between NATO and Warsaw Pact to develop effective anti aircraft vehicles is a fascinating one.
The Sovs actually introduced their designs into service whereas the US had to make do with inferior kit. Predictably the West Germans had the best stuff and the Brits b all.

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