$107.8M to RESET and Produce the First 155 M1A1-SA Tanks
General Dynamics Land Systems in Warren, MI receives a pair of delivery order amounts for M1A1 vehicle material sets, used in the AIM process. They include one order for $63.4 million as part of an $81 million firm-fixed-price contract, and another for $44.4 million as part of a $125.5 million firm-fixed-price contract [TL. = $107.8 million]. Work will be performed in Lima, OH (77%), Scranton, PA (20%), and Muskegon, MI (3%), and is expected to be complete by June 30, 2008. These were sole source contracts initiated on December 29, 2005 (DAAE07-01-G-N001).
A subsequent GDLS release notes that this funding will put 155 M1A1 Abrams tanks through the AIM tear-down and rebuild process, while adding a new “situational awareness” refit set which we describe in-depth here…
The new tanks, which we’ll refer to as “M1A1-SA” in future, will have gear added including:
- Blue Force Tracking (BFT)/Force Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), which shows the positions of friendly forces and identified enemies on a computer screen. DID’s in-depth article and links re: FBCB2 can be found here.
- 2nd-generation FLIR(Forward-Looking Infrared) sights. DID covered their importance in this article.
- Far Target Locate.
- An eye-safe laser rangefinder.
- A thermal sight for the tank’s .50 cal machine gun, which is also useful when providing overwatch and surveillance.
- Driver’s vision enhancements. These may include BAE System’s DVRC rear-view thermal camera.
- A power distribution box (note all the associated electronics in these modifications)
- A rear slave receptacle. An auxiliary power (slave) receptacle is used to start a vehicle when its batteries are unable to supply starting current. This D-N-I.NET article had a couple of interesting points from the field re: the slave receptacle’s design and positioning, and indeed the M1 upgrade initiatives generally.
- A tank-infantry phone that is mounted on the outside of the tank, and can be picked up by accompanying infantry. This modification has been used on tanks for decades, but was left out of the M1. It improves coordination, without forcing the tank crew to come out and expose themselves to enemy fire. This has been a frequent request from infantry troops in Iraq, whose urban situations make this feature especially useful. This feature is also included on the M1 TUSK urban warfare specialty variant.
See also DID’s focus article on the US Army’s RESET programs, which include AIM, for more information and context.