General Dynamics to upgrade 150 relatively old M1A1 battle tanks like new for Morocco
WARREN, Mich., 29 Sept. 2015. U.S. Army armored combat vehicle experts are asking General Dynamics Corp. to make extensive upgrades on 150 relatively old M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks to make them like new for foreign military sales to the government of Morocco in North Africa.
Officials of the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., announced a $358 million contract Monday to General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., to convert M1A1 vehicles to the M1A1 situational awareness (SA) configuration for Morocco.
The M1A1 SA is part of the Army's Abrams Tank Upgrade program, and consists of two variants: the M1A1 SA and the M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP). Morocco will get the old tanks for free, but will pay for the technology and vetronics upgrades and maintenance.
The M1A1 SA has forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sights, engine air filter to protect the engine from the fine sand and dust of North Africa, and a telephone on the rear fender to enable accompanying infantry to communicate with the M1A1 SA tank crew.
The M1A1 SA's situational awareness package provides crews soldiers with an electronic graphic of the battlefield with icons for friendly and enemy forces. The armored fighting vehicle also has an eye-safe laser rangefinder.
The M1A1 SA has a 120-millimeter M256 smooth-bore main gun, a 7.62-millimeter M240 machine gun, and a stabilized commander's weapon station (SCWS) with heavy machine gun to enable accurate firing while the tank is moving over rough ground.
The hull and turret of the M1A1 SA is made with advanced armor to enable the tank to operate against other heavily armored forces. The M1A1 SA has a Lycoming Textron AGT 1500 gas turbine engine that operates on diesel or kerosene-based fuel.
Operators of the M1A1 SA variant are the U.S., Australia, Iraq, and Morocco. The vehicle weighs nearly 70 tons, can move at speeds faster than 40 miles per hour, and has a range of about 260 miles.
On this contract General Dynamics will do the work at the company's tank plant in Lima, Ohio, and should be finished by February 2018. For more information contact General Dynamics Land Systems online at www.gdls.com, or the Army Contracting Command-Warren at https://contracting.tacom.army.mil.