Abrams Tank Upgrade — M1
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DESCRIPTION

The Abrams Main Battle Tank closes with and destroys the enemy using mobility, firepower and shock effect. The Abrams is a full-tracked, low-profile, land combat assault weapon possessing unmatched survivability, shoot-on-the-move lethality and a high degree of maneuverability. The Abrams tank sends a message to those who would oppose the United States as to the resolve, capability and might of the U.S. Army. A 1,500-horsepower turbine engine, 120 mm main gun and special armor make the Abrams tank particularly lethal against heavy armor forces. The Abrams fleet consists of two variants: the M1A1 SA (Situational Awareness) and the M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Program) version 2. The M1A2C, the latest variant in production, is concluding testing. It will be followed by another variant, the M1A2D, which is in initial development.

The Abrams program is a mature, Acquisition Category IC program. Design decision authority is delegated to Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, which further empowers leaders at the lowest level to execute. This creates great Acquisition agility and enables quick reactions to the Army’s requirements while focusing on the real-time needs of the warfighting formations.

M1A1 SA: Currently in Sustainment and slated for divestment between Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20)-FY25, this variant has a single second-generation Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sight and analog architecture. While less capable, it is just as survivable and maneuverable as the more modern variants. The M1A1 SA has Blue Force Tracker — a digital command-and-control system that gives commanders information about their location relative to friendly forces — and powertrain improvements.

M1A2 SEPv2: All M1A2 tanks have two sights, a gunner’s and commander’s sight, which increase the tank’s lethality by enabling a hunter/killer technique — as the gunner destroys targets, the commander can simultaneously survey the battlefield for the next threat. All M1A2s also have digital architectures, which facilitate future upgrades, allow interoperability and ease the maintenance burden. Other upgrades include Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station – Low Profile, an ammunition data link to fire improved rounds, and 12 batteries for longer silent watch. Program Manager Abrams has integrated the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) on the M1A2 SEPv2.

M1A2C: The next version of the Abrams tank is in Production and finalizing testing. This version rectifies many of the space, weight and power issues identified during Operation Iraqi Freedom and will be the foundational variant for all future incremental upgrades. In addition to having improved survivability, the Abrams M1A2C can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant. Improvements focus on increasing the electrical power margin, Vehicle Health Management Systems, integrated counter-improvised explosive device protection, a new Auxiliary Power Unit, embedded training and an ammunition data link. It is the most reliable Abrams tank ever produced, will decrease the Army’s logistic burden, and leads the Army in enterprise-level connectivity to maintenance and supply systems.

M1A2D: The most modern Abrams tank has started development; the cornerstone technology is the third generation (3GEN) FLIR, which will provide tank crews much greater lethality. The 3GEN FLIR will be an upgrade to both sights and will be common with other combat platforms. With the upgrade, the Abrams will integrate a color camera, Eye-safe Laser Range Finder and a cross-platform laser pointer to facilitate multidomain battle in to the commander’s sight. In addition to a lethality upgrade, the M1A2D will include full-embedded training to maximize crew proficiency of the system. This program began early enough to on-board any technology the Army deems critical to the future battlefield to include artificial intelligence, autonomy, APS or advanced sensors.

BENEFIT TO THE SOLDIER

Provides the lethality, survivability and fightability necessary to defeat advanced threats well into the future. The Abrams tank is the Army’s primary ground combat system.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Combat weight (tons): M1A1 SA – 67.6; M1A2 SEPv2 – 71.2; M1A2C – 73.6
  • Speed: 42 mph, 30 mph x-country
  • M1A1 SA – 120 mm/40 rounds; M1A2 SEPv2 – 120 mm/42 rounds
  • Machine guns: .50 caliber – 900 rounds; 7.62 mm – 11,400 rounds

PROGRAM STATUS

FY16: Start of next generation FLIR development for the Abrams tank
FY17: Abrams M1A2 SEPv2 tank Production complete
2QFY17–2QFY18: Transitions Production from M1A2 SEPv2 to M1A2C through a “Pilot” program

FY18:

  • Start of M1A2C Production
  • Start of M1A2D Development program

PROJECTED ACTIVITIES

FY19-FY20: M1A2C Testing completed
FY20: M1A2C First Unit Equipped
FY19-FY23: M1A2D Development program continues

Foreign Military Sales

  • M1A1: Australia, Egypt, Iraq and Morocco
  • M1A2/M1A2S: Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

Contractors

  • General Dynamics Land Systems (Sterling Heights, MI)