The US first experienced chemical warfare agents during World War I when our military suffered numerous casualties because they were unprotected from chemical warfare agents and had no warning capability. The US did not begin to develop a chemical warfare agent detection and warning system until the 1950s, fielding the first US automatic chemical alarm, the M8, in the late 1970s. The Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), now the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM), and the Army Training and Doctrine Command initiated a Concept Exploration Program in 1984 to establish the feasibility of a mobile nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance system. The program tested a German Fuchs NBC Reconnaissance System and a US-developed prototype mounted on an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier. In September 1986, the Army considered leasing 48 German Fuchs systems to satisfy the needs of its forces in Europe. However, in October 1987, the Army instead decided to buy 48 German systems to fulfill the immediate need, if funds could be identified in subsequent fiscal years. In February 1988, the Army decided to cancel the M113 development program and purchase the Fuchs for Army units worldwide, and in March 1990, the Army contracted with General Dynamics to manufacture an American version of the German Fuchs.
Figure 1. XM93 Fox NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle
With the start of Operation Desert Shield less than five months later, the need to immediately equip US forces was urgent. During Operation Desert Shield and just before Operation Desert Storm, the government of Germany provided the United States with 60 Fuchs NBC Reconnaissance Vehicles, modified before delivery by adding English-language labels and software; an M43A1 Chemical Agent Detector, which is the detector component of the M8A1 Chemical Agent Alarm; air conditioning; and US radios. This Americanized variant became known as the XM93 Fox NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle (Figure 1), hereafter called the Fox vehicle or simply the Fox.
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