General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has received a contract modification for production and delivery of additional M1A2S Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) to the Royal Saudi Land Forces.
Awarded by the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Lifecycle Management Command (LCMC), the $132.7m foreign military sales (FMS) contract forms part of Saudi Arabia's plan to upgrade its entire fleet of 314 Abrams MBTs.
Covering procurement and development of 69 tanks, the latest contract also extends the initial $58m deal secured by GDLS in 2008 for upgrade of Saudi Arabia's M1A1 and M1A2 tanks to the M1A2S system enhancement package (SEP) standard to improve efficiency and capability of the armoured-vehicle.
An upgraded variant of the US Army and Marine Corps M1A1 MBT, the M1A2 Abrams tank is designed to engage and attack enemy forces using enhanced firepower, manoeuvrability and shock effect.
Due to heavy exterior armour, the tank offers enhanced protection to a crew of four, and also features a gunners primary sight (GPS), new Block I 2nd generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology, eye-safe laser range finder, as well as a blue force tracking (BFT) system for enhanced effectiveness in the battlefield.
Equipped with manually loaded 120mm M256 smooth bore cannon, the tank is 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.
Manufacturing work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company's Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, US, with an estimated completion date of 31 July 2014.
Image: The M1A2s Abrams main battle tanks of the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Photo: file image.