The U.S. Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command placed a $72.7-million order with General Dynamics Land Systems to update 12 M1A1 Abrams tanks with the M1A2 Systems Enhancement Package, under terms of an existing contract. The M1A1 is one of three variants of the U.S. Army’s primary battle tank, first produced in 1985, and the M1A2 SEP was developed to bring it up to the standard of the subsequent M1A2 variant.
The TACOM LCMC, headquartered in Warren, Mich., manages programs aimed at maintaining “mobility, lethality, and survivability” for the U.S. armed forces, and allies.
In 2008, the U.S. Dept. of Defense extended a multi-year contract to General Dynamics authorizing the upgrade of 435 M1A1 tanks that had been in the Army’s inventory for over 20 years.
General Dynamics Land Systems business unit produces wheeled, tracked, and amphibious combat vehicles, including the Abrams tanks. In 2011, General Dynamics agreed to buy Force Protection Inc. for $360 million, incorporating the contractor that specializes in armored systems that protect occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It developed the U.S. military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program that updates armored vehicles for greater combat protection.
General Dynamics is converting the tanks to the M1A2 SEP V2 configuration, which is described as “the most technologically advanced digital tank,” with improved color displays, day and night thermal sights, commander remote operated weapon station (CROWS II), a Thermal Management System (TMS), and a tank-infantry phone. “The M1A2 SEP V2 maximizes the fighting ability of the tank on today’s battlefield while preparing the platform for tomorrow’s challenges,” according to General Dynamics.
Production on the updates will be carried out through December 31, 2015, at plants in Anniston, Ala.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Lima, Ohio; and Scranton, Pa.