M1A1 Abrams tanks

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has been awarded a contract modification from the US Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command to continue upgrades of the M1A1 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 systems enhancement package (SEP) V2 configuration.

The $60m contract extension follows the original $1.5bn contract awarded in February 2008 for the upgrade of 435 M1A1 tanks in the army’s inventory. The M1A2 SEP V2 is a technologically advanced digital tank featuring improved uranium armour, a new command and control system, second-generation FLIR thermal sights that include a commander remote-operated weapon station (CROWS II), a thermal management system (TMS) and a tank infantry phone.

The advanced FLIR thermal sights are part of the US Army’s horizontal technology integration (HTI) second-generation forward-looking infrared (HTI SGF) sighting systems programme, which ensures compatibility with other vehicles such as the M2/M3 Bradley IFVs. Additional features include improved colour displays, networked communications, high-density computer memory and increased microprocessing speed, and an open architecture capable of accommodating future technology improvements to ensure compatibility with the US Army future combat systems.

The improved digital displays provide tank commanders and crews with a better understanding of the tank’s operational status and situation on the battlefield. The built-in test system ensures rapid and efficient diagnosis and repair, improving combat availability and saving operational costs. Work under the contract will be performed at the company’s facilities in Alaska, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, US, and is expected to be complete by June 2013.

The army also plans to equip all active heavy brigade combat teams (HBCTs) with M1A2 SEP V2 tanks by 2013.

Image: General Dynamics Land Systems will continue M1A1 Abrams tanks upgrades to M1A2 SEP V2 configuration for the US Army.