M1A1 Abrams tank

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has received a contract from the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command Lifecycle Management Command to refurbish and upgrade M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks to the M1A1 situational awareness (SA) configuration.

Under the $358m foreign military sales (FMS) contract, the company will upgrade a total of 150 M1A1 Abrams tanks for sale to the Kingdom of Morocco.

In June 2012, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the Royal Moroccan Army’s request for the sale of up to 200 M1A1 tanks, along with associated weapons, ammunition and equipment, as well as logistical support and training.

Under the M1A1 SA programme, tanks are completely disassembled and overhauled to a zero-mile condition, and are configured with armour upgrades and additional mission-critical technologies to help augment crew situational awareness.

The advanced M1A1 SA tank features gunners primary sight, new Block I 2nd generation forward-looking infrared technology, and a blue force tracking system for enhanced effectiveness in the battlefield.

"The refurbished tanks incur lower operational and support costs and report higher operational readiness rates."

According to the company, the refurbished tanks also incur lower operational and support costs and report higher operational readiness rates.

The refurbishment process will be accomplished through the army’s Excess Defence Articles programme, which enables the US to supply surplus military equipment to its allies, while providing the potential for the industrial base to support parts, refurbishment and sustainment of the vehicles.

The company will refurbish the first 50 tanks at the US Government-owned Joint Systems Manufacturing Centre in Lima, while the remaining repairs are scheduled to be performed at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, US.

Deliveries under the contract will start in January 2017 with an estimated completion date of February 2018.

Image: An M1A1 Abrams tank sits on a display near one of the entrance gates of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Centre in Lima, Ohio, US. Photo: courtesy of Jade Phoenix Pence.