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Abrams tank

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has received a contract for conversion of additional M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) to the Saudi M1A2 (M1A2S) configuration for Saudi Arabia.

Awarded by the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Lifecycle Management Command (LCMC) on behalf of the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF), the $187.5m contract covers conversion of additional 44 M1A1 and 40 M1A2 Abrams tanks.

The latest foreign military sales (FMS) contract also continues the work initiated by the company in 2008 to update M1A1 and M1A2 tanks to the M1A2S configuration, which improves its efficiency and operational capability.

An upgraded version of the US Army and Marine Corps’ M1A1 MBT, the M1A2 Abrams is designed to engage and attack enemy forces using enhanced firepower, manoeuvrability and shock effect in the battlefield.

Integrated with manually loaded 120mm M256 smoothbore cannon, the tank can fire a multitude of different rounds, such as M865 TPCSDS-T and M831 TP-T training ammunition against enemy armoured vehicles, soldiers and low-flying aircraft.

"The M1A2 Abrams is designed to engage and attack enemy forces using enhanced firepower, manoeuvrability and shock effect."

Offering enhanced protection to a crew of four, the tank features a gunner primary sight, new Block I second generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology, an eye-safe laser range finder and a blue force tracking (BFT) system for improved effectiveness in the battlefield.

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Upgrade work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion in March 2015.

General Dynamics spokesman Rob Doolittle was quoted by Reuters as saying that the contract is one of several foreign and domestic awards the company was hoping to secure to ensure continued work at the Lima facility.

GDLS also secured $132.7m and $40m FMS contracts in January and April 2013, for supply of additional M1A2S tanks to the Saudi Arabian Army.

Image: Two M1A2 Abrams tanks of the Saudi Arabian Army. Photo: file image.

Defence Technology