By Ben Ames
MCKINNEY, Texas - Army leaders will outfit 872 new vehicles with an upgraded night-vision common sensor sight from the Raytheon Co. Network Centric Systems division in McKinney, Texas.
The vehicles to receive night-vision forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors include 572 new Abrams main battle tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, 300 LRAS3 (Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance Systems) and other Army ground platforms.
Using $180 million in follow-on money, Raytheon will give the Army’s M1A1 vehicle fleet a new generation of sensors under a one-year contract that was driven by “lessons learned” during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The award clears the way for Raytheon to produce 1,603 block 1 B-Kits and 252 Abrams M1A2 A-kits to update the vehicles with the latest in FLIR technology, company officials say.
The block 1 effort, also known as “Second Generation FLIR” (SGF), is fully funded and Raytheon expects further Block 1 SGF awards in 2006.
Using FLIR technology, warfighters can view the battlefield 24/7, in all weather and wartime conditions including rain, smoke, sandstorms, fog, and dust.
Compared to first-generation FLIR systems on older M1A1 tanks, the block 1 upgrade will double the distance at which troops can identify a target and increase the distance at which a gunner can “lock-on” to a target.
“Second-generation FLIR is often listed as the first or second priority for Army combat vehicle technology upgrades,” says Glynn Raymer, vice president of Raytheon Combat Systems. Second-generation FLIR technology improves scene contrast, reduces image jitter, and increases image resolution. The Block 1 SGF program offers significant improvements in cost, size, weight, and power, and will advance the Army’s transition to a modular force.
The company will provide the same, or similar, systems for the U.S. Marine Corps, key international partners, and U.S. Army government-furnished equipment. For more information, see www.raytheon.com.