General Dynamics to upgrade 786 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics for U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait

WARREN, Mich. – Armored combat vehicle experts at General Dynamics Corp. will upgrade as many as 786 M1 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics to the most advanced M1A2 SEPv3 configuration under terms of a $2.6 billion contract announced in late December.

General Dynamics to upgrade 786 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics for U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait
General Dynamics to upgrade 786 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics for U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait
WARREN, Mich. – Armored combat vehicle experts at General Dynamics Corp. will upgrade as many as 786 M1 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics to the most advanced M1A2 SEPv3 configuration under terms of a $2.6 billion contract announced in late December.

Officials of the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., are asking General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., to upgrade U.S. Army M1A1 tanks, as well as upgrade legacy M1A1 tanks to advanced versions for the armed forces of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tank is the latest version of the M1 Abrams, and has increased power generation and distribution, better communications and networking, new vehicle health management system (VHMS), line replaceable modules (LRMs) for improved maintenance, and an ammunition datalink (ADL) to use airburst rounds.

Kuwait has asked for as many as 218 M1A1 tanks upgrade to M1A2-K configuration, which is a version of the Abrams tank configured specially for that country's armed forces.

Kuwait military leaders have asked for the 218 upgraded M1A2-K tanks, as well as 240 single-channel ground and airborne radio systems (SINCGARS); new Abrams tank cooling and thermal management systems; Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) II; second-generation forward looking infrared (FLIR) sights; embedded diagnostics; gunner’s primary sights; counter sniper and anti-materiel mount (CSAMM) hardware; and other tank support equipment.

Related: U.S. Army accepts first M1A2 SEPv3 version of Abrams main battle tank

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has asked for as many as 153 M1A1 and M1A2 tanks upgraded to the M1A2S configuration designed for that country's armed forces. The Saudi tank request also includes 169 AN/VAS-5 driver vision enhancer-Abrams (DVE-A); 133 AN/PVS-7B night-vision devices; and other tank support equipment.

The M1A2 SEPv3 stands for system enhancement package version 3. This latest version of the M1A2 tank also offers an improved counter-improvised explosive device (IED) armor package, improved forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor using long- and mid-wave infrared, a low-profile Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS), and an auxiliary power unit (APU) under armor to run electronics without the engine running.

Prototypes of the M1A2 SEPv3 tank began testing in 2015, and are starting to enter service. Improvements to the SEPv3 version focus on increasing the electrical power; improving survivability; integrating the new Army network; electronic component improvements; new auxiliary power unit; and an ammunition data link.

The M1A2 SEPv3 is the next generation M1 tank version from the SEPv2, which focused on improved survivability, automotive power pack, computer systems, and night vision capabilities. The SEPv2 also offered improvements in the CROWS and ballistic solution upgrades for the M829A3 kinetic and the M1028 canister rounds.

Related: General Dynamics to upgrade 60 M1 Abrams battle tanks and vetronics to M1A2 SEPv3 configuration

The M1A2 SEPv2 has improved microprocessors, color flat-panel displays, improved memory capacity, better soldier-machine interface. and a new open operating system designed to run the Common Operating Environment software. The tank's gunner’s primary sight and the commander’s independent thermal viewer include the improved thermal imaging capabilities of the new Block I 2nd generation FLIR technology.

Army leaders intend the M1A2 SEPv3 to defeat and suppress enemy tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, anti-tank guns, guided missile launchers, bunkers, infantry, and helicopters.

On this contract General Dynamics will do the work at locations depending on each order, and should be finished by December 2020. For more information contact General Dynamics Land Systems online at www.gdls.com, or the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., at http://acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-wrn.

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