The US Army has partnered with General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) to upgrade an additional 174 M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBT).
The US$714 million upgrade program will see the M1A1 variants modernised and upgraded to the state-of-the-art M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3) configuration.
Don Kotchman, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Land Systems US market, said, "We’re proud to help the Army provide world-class combat capability to Armoured Brigade Combat Teams."
This brings the total of M1A2 SEPv3 tanks ordered by the Army in 2018 to 274 (more than three brigades of tanks). The M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features technological advancements in communications, reliability, sustainment and fuel efficiency, plus upgraded armour.
The delivery order is part of an Army Requirements Contract signed in December 2017 through which the Army can upgrade up to 435 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration.
"This delivery order, along with our previous orders, means our production line will be rolling at a steady rate through 2021," Kotchman said.
Work on this delivery order will be performed at GDLS locations in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Tallahassee, Florida, and at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio – the only operational tank plant in the country.
GDLS provides innovative design, engineering, technology, production and full life cycle support for land combat vehicles around the globe.
The Australian Army operates a fleet of 59 M1A1 variant Abrams Main Battle Tanks with the 1st Armoured Regiment. Australia's Abrams are fitted with advanced composite armour, which provides substantial defence against enemy fire and improvised explosive devices.
Fuel and ammunition reside in separate compartments to protect the crew from the risk of the tank's own ammunition exploding if the tank is damaged. To support the Abrams, the ADF has produced seven M88A2 HERCULES (heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift and evacuation system) armoured recovery vehicles.
The HERCULES is a fully-tracked heavy armoured vehicle that performs hoisting, winching and towing as part of recovery operations and evacuation of heavy tanks and other combat vehicles.
The Abrams is also supported by Heavy Tank Transporters to fulfil its logistics requirements while on operations. A range of simulators have also been procured to assist in training and crew preparedness.