General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has been awarded a contract to support the engineering change proposal 1 (ECP1) production of the US Army's M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBTs).
Awarded by the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), the eight-year contract has an overall value of $395m and requires the company to conduct research, development and testing for the ECP1 programme.
The order has an initial value of $80m for one year, and does not include production work of Abrams tank, which is anticipated to serve as an active component of the army's fleet until 2050.
General Dynamics Land Systems heavy brigade combat teams vice president Donald Kotchman said: "This award shows the army's long-term commitment to improving the Abrams tank's capabilities for the warfighter, while ensuring that platforms are able to integrate planned and future upgrades."
Abrams ECP1 programme represents the army's engineering-development effort aimed at combining a group of system improvements into a single upgrade programme for the advanced M1A2 SEPv2 baseline configuration.
The programme will re-engineer the tank's internal systems to lessen requirements for size, weight and power, as well as allowing efficient integration of army-directed next-generation systems without alterations to its current performance.
Work includes miniaturisation of electronics, evolving to a line replaceable module (LRM)-based electronics architecture, as well as increasing electrical capacity through enhanced power generation, distribution and management.
Upon implementation, the ECP1 upgrades are designed to enhance the tank's survivability and also enable installation of existing and advanced counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) equipment.
Work under the contract will be carried out at the company's facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and is scheduled to be complete by 2020.
Low-rate initial production (LRIP) of ECP1 upgrades-equipped Abrams tanks is expected to start in 2017.
Image: US Army's M1A1 Abrams MBTs conducting training in South Korea. Photo: courtesy of specialist Christina Anne Horne (US Army).