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The US Army Has Big Plans for the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank

M1 Abrams
A M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams Tank fires at multiple range targets during a range warfighter exercise, April 11, 2021, Fort Hood, Texas. The visit with foreign allies allows the U.S. Army to boost interoperability of staff members and warfighting capabilities with the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Tank. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard)

The M1 Abrams Just Keeps Rolling On: The management at General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, has much to celebrate this holiday season, as it was announced last week that the defense contractor has been awarded a new contract worth nearly $100 million from the U.S. Army Contracting Command for the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank (MBT).

According to a statement from the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) contract portal, “General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., Sterling Heights, Michigan, was awarded a $93,519,000 fixed-price-incentive contract for M1A2 Abrams engineering, manufacturing, design and production. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Sep. 30, 2025. Fiscal 2019 Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $93,519,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-22-C-0005).”

The defense contractor had previously been awarded a $4.6 billion fixed-price-incentive contract to produce M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks for the U.S. Army. Under the terms of that contract, which was announced last December, work locations and funding would be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 17, 2028. The first delivery order is valued at an estimated $406 million.

The SEPv3 configuration would further modernize the MBTs that were first introduced in 1980 and have been used by the U.S. military in conflicts around the globe. Developed in the 1970s, M1 Abrams can confront and destroy enemy forces using unrivaled firepower, maneuverability and shock effect. It is armed with a manually-loaded, 120mm M256 smoothbore cannon, which can be used to take out enemy armored vehicles, personnel, fortified positions and even low-flying aircraft.

As ArmyRecognition reported this week, in late 1988, the U.S. Army awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a contract worth over US$350 million to carry out the first Full-Scale Engineering Development (FSED) of the M1A2 program. The first production M1A2s were completed late in 1992 with initial operating capability (IOC) achieved in 1993.

The M1A2, which was approved by the United States armed forces for production in 1990, has remained the backbone of the U.S. Army. It provides enhanced operational combat capabilities over that of the M1A1 MBT, which was the first upgrade of the tank in the early 1980s. The improvements of the M1A2 include Improved Commander’s Weapon Station (ICWS), Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), an Inter-Vehicular Information System (IVIS), Position/Navigation System (POS/NAV), and several survivability initiatives.

The United States military currently maintains a total of 2,389 MBTs, including 750 M1A1 SA Abrams, 1,605 M1A2 SEP V2, 34+ M1A2C (M1A2 Abrams SEP V3), and 3,300 M1A1/A2, in its arsenal. General Dynamics Land Systems has continued to collaborate with the U.S. Army to ensure that America’s warfighters continue to have the strongest and most technologically advanced tank fleet in the world.

Taiwan Tanks

M1 Abrams Tank firing. Image: Creative Commons.

M1 Abrams

M1 Abrams Tank

M1 Abrams Tank firing.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is a Contributing Writer for Forbes. 

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Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.