|This page is about the American SPAA M163. For other versions, see M113 (Family).|
The Gun, Air Defence Artillery, Self-Propelled: 20-mm, M163 is a rank V American self-propelled anti-aircraft gun with a battle rating of 7.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.63 "Desert Hunters".
Survivability and armour
Armour is not on the operator's side in the M163, as it is thin enough to be destroyed by 12.7 mm machine guns from the sides and rear, and any cannon-sized armament from the front. The turret is partially open, leaving the crew vulnerable to enemy light arms fire. If attacked, the best bet for taking a hit and surviving is to point the engine towards the enemy and hope it absorbs the shot.
- Aluminum alloy 5083 (hull)
- Structural steel (front and rear fenders)
- Rubber-fabric screens (fenders/sideskirts)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 38+6 mm (45°) Upper Glacis
38 mm (26°) Lower Glacis
29 mm (45°) Engine Maintenance Hatch
| 44+6 mm Top
32 mm Bottom
|38 mm||38 mm|
|Turret|| 17 mm Turret Front
150 mm Gun Mantlet
|17 mm||17 mm|
- The additional armour does not fully cover the plate it is mounted onto.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
The M163 is equipped with a 20 mm M168 VADS, or Vulcan air defence system. The M168 is a variant of the M61 cannon, which can be found in-game on vehicles such as the Japanese T-2, and the American F-4C Phantom II. Used initially during the Vietnam war, the M168 was a 20 mm air-cooled rotary cannon attached to a small turret on the M163. Dangerous to anything in the sky, it will lock on and rip through anything in its path.
|20 mm M168||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Mode||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal||Stabilizer||Stock||Upgraded||Full||Expert||Aced||Stock||Full||Expert||Aced|
- Default: AP-I · HEI-T · API-T
- HEI: HEI-T · HEF-I · API-T · HEF-I
- AP-I: AP-I · API-T · HEF-I · API-T
|Ammunition||Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
|Fuse delay|| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|2 belts||1 (+1)||0 (+2)||No|
Usage in battles
The M163 has an amazing rate of fire with the M168 gun, thus it has amazing damage output. In an anti-aircraft role, it is best used as a point-defence SPAA, defending a group of allies/cap zone from air attack. Its range isn't as good as the M247, so it's best to keep in mind the approximate 1 km targeting zone of the M163.
The M163 wields about 60 mm of penetration, which is enough to mortally wound/destroy many lightly-armoured vehicles such as the Leopard, AUBL, and Centauro.
The high rate of fire also allows the M163 a sort of CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) type of role, as it can easily spray in the direction of an incoming bomb, thus destroying it and saving nearby allies. This is especially easy against the infamous FAB-5000 bomb from the Soviet Pe-8, as the bomb is large and easy to track.
The M163 is equipped with an AN/VPS-2 tracking radar, with no search radar. The radar is fitted to the side of the turret.
|In order to lock on you must be looking through your sight, position the crosshair over a target (within 7 km) and press the lock on key. The target must be within a 2° cone from the centre of the crosshair.|
|AN/VPS-2 - Tracking Radar|
| Azimuth Tracking
| Elevation Tracking
|7,000 m||100 m||360°|| -20°/+85°
(lock between -20°/+20°)
|15 m/s (54 km/h)|
Pros and cons
- Quick acceleration
- Good traverse, especially when fully upgraded
- Very high rate of fire of 3,000 rpm; can literally shred incoming enemy aircraft, AP rounds are dangerous against lightly-armoured vehicles
- Has a tracking radar
- Can double as a CIWS (close-in weapon system): it can shred bombs, rockets and incoming missiles as a last resort defence
- Very thin overall armour
- The M113 has low top speed and low power-to-weight ratio
- Struggles when climbing hills until performance modules are equipped
- Long reload time
- No search radar, meaning one must visually find enemy aircraft to lock on to
- Effective range is limited for a radar SPAA
The M163 VADS (Vulcan Air Defense System) was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) based on the chassis of the M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC). It was nearly unmodified from the base M113, and featured the same armour scheme, rear loading ramp, and the General Motors 6V53 series 6-cylinder 2-cycle diesel engine (212 hp). An open-topped turret was fitted to the center of the roof of the vehicle, and an M61 Vulcan 20 mm rotary cannon was mounted in the turret. The gun could fire at 3,000 rpm or 1,000 rpm, and the elevation was from -5° to +80°. The M163 was operated by a crew of four, and there was a wide variety of ammunition for the main gun. A tracking radar was fitted to the turret to improve the chances of destroying an enemy aircraft, but the anti-aircraft ability of the M163 was limited and it was only useful against low-flying aircraft within 5 km, and the chances of destroying the aircraft were best within 1 km.
The M163 entered service with the United States Army in 1969, but at least six vehicles were sent to the Vietnam War before the type had entered service. The vehicles sent to South Vietnam were not fitted with the tracking radar, and they were used mostly in an infantry support role. The M163 was later upgraded to the M163A1 and A2 standards. The M163A1 had an improved gun mount, and the M163A2 featured the improved M113A2 powerplant. The M163 PIVADS (Product Improved Vulcan Air Defense System) upgrade was introduced in 1984. The PIVADS upgrade featured improved radar and accuracy of the gun, and it also introduced armour-piercing capabilities with an APDS round. Over time, the M163 began to be used more in an infantry support role, as surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems became more common. It notably served during the First Gulf War. The M163 was retired from US Army service in 1993.
The M163 was also used by a number of other nations. These include Albania, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Portugal, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) upgraded a number of M163 vehicles with a launcher for 4 x FIM-92 Stinger SAMs, and these were called the Machbet. The IDF also upgraded their vehicles with improved electronics. The M163 is still in service with a number of the nations listed above.
Note: M163 no longer amphibious as of Update "Wind of Change"
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the vehicles;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
- M163 VADS. (2020, 13 June). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=M163_VADS&oldid=962270535
- M163 Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS). (2019, July 2). Military Factory. Retrieved July 15, 2020, from https://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=141.
|USA anti-aircraft vehicles|
|M3 Half-track derivatives||M13 MGMC · M15 CGMC · M16 MGMC|
|Radar SPAAG||M163 · M247|
|Missile SPAA||LAV-AD · XM975|