Awarded by the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC), the $40m contract forms part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to upgrade its Abrams MBT fleet.
The new foreign military sales (FMS) contract extends the initial $58m deal awarded in 2008 to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s M1A1 and M1A2 tanks to the M1A2S system enhancement package (SEP) standard, which improves its efficiency and operational capability.
The SEP upgrades include the integration of digital maps, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) capabilities, as well as an enhanced cooling system, to compensate for heat generated by the additional computer systems.
GDLS also received a $132.7m contract from TACOM for procurement and development of 69 tanks for the Royal Saudi Army in January.
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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 is also capable of firing 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.
Besides offering enhanced protection to a crew of four, the tank also features a gunner primary sight, new Block I second generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology, eye-safe laser range finder, a blue force tracking (BFT) system for enhanced effectiveness in the battlefield.
Performed at the company’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, US, manufacturing work under the contract is expected to complete by July 2014.
Image: An M1A2 Abrams tank firing its main armament, the 120mm smoothbore gun.