Army asks General Dynamics to transform six legacy main battle tanks into latest M1A2 SEP models

WARREN, Mich., 16 Feb. 2015. Main battle tank designers at General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., will build six M1A2 Abrams System Enhanced Package (SEP) Version 2 (V2) main battle tanks with digital vetronics under terms of a $49.8 million U.S. Army contract modification announced Friday.

Army asks General Dynamics to transform six legacy main battle tanks into latest M1A2 SEP models
Army asks General Dynamics to transform six legacy main battle tanks into latest M1A2 SEP models

Editor's note: GE Intelligent Platforms changed its name to Abaco Systems on 23 Nov. 2015 as a result of the company's acquisition last September by New York-based private equity firm Veritas Capital.

Army asks General Dynamics to transform six legacy main battle tanks into latest M1A2 SEP modelsArmy asks General Dynamics to transform six legacy main battle tanks into latest M1A2 SEP modelsWARREN, Mich., 16 Feb. 2015. Main battle tank designers at General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., will build six M1A2 Abrams System Enhanced Package (SEP) Version 2 (V2) main battle tanks with digital vetronics under terms of a $49.8 million U.S. Army contract modification announced Friday.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., awarded the contract on behalf of the Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) in Warren, Mich. The M1A2 SEP V2 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 GE Intelligent Platforms in Huntsville, Ala., which provides graphics and communications embedded computing, as well as and rugged commercial off-the-shelf (R-COTS) processors.

Another vetronics supplier to the M1A2 SEP tank is the Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions 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.

Related: Curtiss-Wright lands $2.1 million Army contract for M1A2 Abrams tank embedded fire-control computers

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.

Related: Army eyes communications, embedded computing, and electronic warfare upgrades for M1A2 main battle tank

General Dynamics will do the work on the contract modification announced Friday as part of an existing contract to upgrade obsolescent M1A1 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEP V2 configuration, company officials say.

The original multi-year contract was awarded in February 2008, which authorized the upgrade of 435 M1A1 tanks that have been in the Army’s inventory for more than 20 years to transform them into the tank's latest version.

General Dynamics will do work on the contract in Lima, Ohio; Scranton, Pa.; Anniston, Ala.; and Tallahassee, Fla., and should be finished by the end of January 2017.

For more information contact General Dynamics Land Systems online at www.gdls.com, the Army Contracting Command at www.acc.army.mil, or the Army TACOM LCMC at www.tacom.army.mil.

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