Army asks General Dynamics to build six M1A2 SEP main battle tanks with digital vetronics
WARREN, Mich., 14 Dec. 2015. Armored combat vehicle designers at General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., will build six M1A2 Abrams System Enhanced Program (SEP) main battle tanks with digital vetronics under terms of a $92.2 million U.S. Army contract modification announced Friday.
Officials of the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., are asking General Dynamics for six of the most advanced versions of the M1 Abrams tank. The M1A2 SEP is considered to be one of the most technologically advanced and most survivable digital main battle tank available worldwide.
The networked M1A2 SEP has an electronic backbone, improved processors, high-resolution color displays, increased memory capacity, a day and night forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sighting system, auxiliary power, a tank-infantry phone, and an open architecture designed to accommodate future upgrades without redesigns.
Building advanced Abrams tanks helps support about 882 industry suppliers, General Dynamics officials say. Among the tank's suppliers is Abaco Systems (formerly GE Intelligent Platforms) in Huntsville, Ala., which provides graphics and communications embedded computing, as well as and rugged commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) processors.
Another vetronics supplier to the M1A2 SEP tank is the Curtiss-Wright Corp. Defense Solutions Division in Santa Clarita, Calif., which provides Fire Control Communication Processor (FCCP) boards, which keeps the tank's 120-millimeter main gun on target and aiming accurately, even while the tank is on the move. Curtiss-Wright has been supplying these boards for the Abrams tank since 1997.
The the M1A2 SEP tank's general-purpose processor (GPP) is designed to accept two on-board mezzanine modules in one VME slot, and allows for improved crew operations and vehicle diagnostics. The M1A2 SEP V2 tank also has advanced thermal sights and commander’s independent thermal viewer (CITV).
The CITV provides the crew with a hunter-killer capability that enables the M1A2 SEP V2 to acquire targets 45 percent faster and hand off targets 50 to 75 percent faster than the older-model M1A1 tank, which improves its ability to hit evasive targets on the first shot.
Improved digital displays provide tank commanders and crews with a better understanding of their tank’s operational status and their situation on the battlefield. The M1A2 SEP V2 also includes the commander remote operated weapon station (CROWS II), and a thermal management system (TMS).
Digital tanks also enable embedded training on the tank’s computers, and laptop and desktop trainers that simulate the tank’s operating systems.
On this contract General Dynamics will do the work in Lima, Ohio; Scranton, Pa.,; Anniston, Ala.,; and Tallahassee, Fla., and should be finished by July 2017.